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Infectious diseases (ID) are usually caused by bacteria (e.g., strep throat), viruses (e.g., HIV, common cold), fungi (e.g., athlete’s foot) or parasites (e.g., malaria). We all have these organisms in our bodies, but sometimes they cause you to become ill.
Specialists at HealthAlliance-Clinton Hospital, in Leominster, MA, diagnose and treat infectious diseases transmitted by people, through the environment, from animal contact, or from insect bites.
ID symptoms may include:
Progress has been made to eliminate or control many infectious diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, whooping cough and polio thanks to modern medicines and vaccinations. However, there are numerous IDs that exist. Examples of diseases we treat include:
To understand what type of germ is causing your illness, your doctor may order lab work (e.g., blood work, urine or stool samples, throat swab), imaging study (e.g., X-ray, CT scan), or other tests.
Medications can usually be used to treat your illness. Antibiotics can be used for diseases caused by bacteria. Antiviral medications are used to treat viruses, and diseases caused by fungi can be treated by antifungals.
If you have HIV, we can help manage your virus and help you live a healthier life while keeping others safe. In most cases, patients can get HIV under control in six months.
HIV treatment involves taking medicine, called antiretroviral therapy (ART). ART reduces the amount of HIV in your body (viral load) and keeps your CD4 cell (cells that fight infections) count high. When you have an undetectable viral load, you have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV through sex. In addition, it helps prevent transmission from mother to baby.
Traveling to foreign countries may expose you to diseases not found in the United States. Before traveling, check to see if you require any vaccinations for diseases, such as yellow fever, cholera, typhoid fever or hepatitis A or B. Advance planning is important to ensure you are fully covered by the vaccines. Infectious disease specialists and nurse practitioners in Travel Health Services on the Memorial Campus of UMass Memorial Medical Center provide counseling, immunizations, medications and medical care for travel-related illnesses.