Infectious diseases are those caused by a pathogen such as a bacterium, virus or fungus and are transmittable from one person to others. Pathogens invade the body where they multiply, causing the specific disease associated with each type of pathogen. Infectious diseases run the gamut from measles and mumps to pneumonia and AIDS.
Physicians who specialize in diagnosing and treating infectious diseases are generally called immunologists. Immunologists must demonstrate a special understanding of the symptoms as well as skillful interpretation of laboratory test results. In addition to immunologists, general practitioners and pathologists may be involved in diagnosing and treating infectious disease.
Treating infectious disease primarily requires the use of antibiotics (bacterial disease) anti-viral vaccines (viral diseases) and anti-fungal medication (fungal diseases). Secondary treatment for bodily damage caused by the disease (for example, joint problems caused by Lyme disease) may also be necessary. Physicians with an expertise in infectious disease may also advise patients in disease prevention for travel and everyday life.