Helpful Definition for: Infectious Disease Doctor
Infectious disease (ID) doctors are doctors of internal medicine or pediatrics who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of infectious (communicable) diseases. In addition to their regular medical training, ID specialists have completed a postgraduate curriculum along with several years of specialized training in communicable diseases, immunology (the study of how the body fights infection), epidemiology (the study of how infections spread), infection control, and the use of antibiotics and their potential adverse effects. ID doctors are specialists in all types of infections, including those caused by bacteria, fungi, parasites and viruses. They diagnose and manage infections of the bone, bowel, brain, heart, lungs, pelvic organs, sinuses and urinary tract, but do not perform surgery. Not every patient who contracts an infectious disease needs an ID specialist; most can be successfully treated by a regular internist. Many infectious disease doctors specialize in treating the various infections caused by the human immunodeficiency (HIV) virus, which causes AIDS.