Information about Infectious Disease
Get care and expertise for diseases that spread
Most Americans can easily name several infectious diseases, among them HIV, measles, malaria, and pneumonia. Anyone who has had a cold or a stomach virus has had an infectious disease.
Infectious diseases are caused by microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. These microorganisms can create a range of symptoms and may make people mildly or critically ill. Some infections come from the air, while others are a result of insect bites, food or water contamination, or human contact.
In the U.S., even though treatment is available for many infectious diseases, they continue to create ongoing health problems for people from all walks of life. That’s where the Infectious Disease Department comes in. We help patients understand how to stay healthy, provide evaluation and treatment when people are sick, offer inpatient and outpatient care, and deliver advice to patients and their medical team. We also consult with local hospitals and the clinic’s primary care and urgent care physicians on COVID-19.
Our services include care for the following:
- Bone and joint infections
- C. difficile infection
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis C
- HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)
- Infections requiring IV antibiotics
- Post-operative infections
- Pre-travel counseling
- Recurrent skin infections, including MRSA
- Recurrent urinary tract infections
- Sexually transmitted infections
How do I schedule an appointment?
Patients need a referral in order to schedule with Infectious Disease. Speak to your primary care provider, or the doctor who is currently managing your infection, to request a referral.
What should I bring to my first appointment?
If you are already a patient at Vancouver Clinic, we have your health history and everything we need in our medical records system. If you are a new patient, please contact your doctor’s office and ask them to transfer a copy of your medical records to us. Also bring a list of your current medications.
What if I need follow-up labs, imaging, or testing?
For lab work, please visit one of our clinical laboratories after your appointment. For imaging studies, your provider will put in a referral and a scheduler will contact you to arrange an appointment. Once your results are available, you and your doctor will review them, go over any questions you have, and discuss next steps. If you have a MyChart account, your physician may release your results there before your next visit.
Can Hepatitis C be cured?
Yes, most patients with chronic Hepatitis C infection can achieve a sustained virologic response after taking 8-12 weeks of once-a-day oral antiviral medications. This means the virus can no longer be detected and does not come back.
How is HIV treated?
HIV is treated with antiviral medications. 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 just one or two pills a day, usually with few side effects. Provided they are willing to follow their treatment plan, patients with HIV have an excellent prognosis.
What is MRSA?
MRSA stands for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. This particular type of staph bacteria 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.