Information about Infectious Disease
What is Infectious Disease?
Most Americans can easily name a handful of infectious disease. HIV/AIDS. Measles. Malaria. Pneumonia. It’s a broad and extensive list. Caused by microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi or parasites, infectious diseases range in complexity, symptoms and severity. Some come from the air, others from insect bites, still others from food, water sources, or human contact. If you have had a cold or a stomach virus, then you have had an infectious disease.
How We Are Different
In today’s reality, the worry of contracting an infectious disease can be almost as disempowering as the diseases themselves. Almost everyday we hear news of seasonal outbreaks, food recalls, and travel restrictions that can grip us with stress. The Infectious Disease department serves as your place for knowledge, consult and treatment, providing inpatient and outpatient care whether you are sick, concerned, preparing for international travel, or seeking information.
Our services include but are not limited to:
- Infectious disease consultation
- Post-operative infections
- Hospital consultation, at the request of referring physician
- Post-hospitalization follow-up appointments
- Management/Monitoring of IV antibiotic therapy
- HIV Disease Initial labs/diagnosis for new HIV patients Medication management/Lab follow-up
- Primary care for HIV patients Referral to community support network
- Hepatitis C Confirm/diagnose
- Stage liver fibrosis through lab work/liver biopsy
- Referral to radiology facility for liver biopsy Interferon with Ribavirin Treatment
- Teaching for self injection or weekly medication
- Monthly follow-up appointment/lab work
- Hepatitis B
- Confirm/diagnose Medication therapy
- Follow-up labs/monitoring
Are the rates of illness from infectious diseases going up?
Yes. The question of “why” remains open for debate. Many in the scientific community agree that some of the causes include climate change, population growth, and migration of humans and animals to new areas, which brings them into contact with diseases they would have otherwise avoided years ago.
How dangerous are infectious diseases worldwide?
Across the globe, three of the top ten causes of death—16% of all deaths each year—are from infectious diseases. Many of these deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, and are caused by symptoms or diseases that, in wealthier countries, are treatable or even preventable, such diarrhea, lower respiratory infections, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. In the U.S., even though treatment is readily available for the vast majority of infectious diseases, they continue to create ongoing health problems for people from all walks of life.
Is Lyme Disease an issue in the Pacific Northwest?
Lyme disease, which is caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, is transmitted by the bite of infected Ixodes ticks. In the U.S., it is most common in the Northeast, Atlantic Coastal region, and the Upper Midwest. It is uncommon in the Pacific Northwest, though cases have been found in Washington, primarily in the western half of the state.
How is HIV treated?
HIV is treated with anti-viral medication. While there is no cure for HIV, these medications are very effective at suppressing HIV so that it doesn’t weaken the immune system as it otherwise would. Most patients can be treated with as little as 1 or 2 pills a day, usually with little-to-no side effects. Provided that they are willing to take medication, patients with HIV have an excellent prognosis.
What is MRSA?
MRSA stands for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus. This is a particular type of Staph bacteria that is resistant to commonly used antibiotics. Sometimes MRSA is simply carried on the skin or in the nose without causing any problems – this does not require any treatment. However, MRSA also has the ability to cause infections ranging from mild (such as a skin boil or abscess) to severe. These infections can be treated with either pill or intravenous antibiotics depending on the situation.
If you are sick, expect to receive prompt attention to your needs. Our clinical staff interfaces with other departments throughout The Vancouver Clinic, including Pathology, Lab Services, Hematology and Urgent Care, as well as your primary care physician. When you are seeking information, or are planning for international travel, expect our complete attention to detail as we provide insight and the right protocol to prepare you for your next move.