Infectious Diseases

Rely on the infectious disease specialists at Essentia Health to prevent, diagnose, and treat conditions caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites. Infectious diseases can spread from person to person, animal to person, or via bug bites or food contamination.

What's an Infectious Disease Doctor?

An infectious disease specialist is an internal medicine doctor with specialized training in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of infections.

When to Get Care

Your primary care provider can treat mild infections that have the following symptoms:

  • Cough
  • Diarrhea
  • Low-grade fever
  • Muscle aches
  • Tiredness or weakness

Your primary care provider may refer you to a infectious disease specialist if you have more severe symptoms including:

  • Severe headache
  • High fever
  • Rash or swelling
  • Breathing problems
  • Trouble seeing

Conditions Treated

See the full list of conditions we treat and select a condition to find providers and locations near you.

Conditions

Infectious Disease Treatments

Your doctor may perform blood tests, urine tests, or imaging scans to diagnose the cause of your symptoms.  Depending on your diagnosis, your doctor may recommend the following treatments:

  • Antibiotics – Medications that treat infections caused by bacteria
  • Antifungals – Drugs you apply to the affected area of your body or swallow to treat a fungal infection
  • Antiparasitics – Medicines that fight parasites that cause infections
  • Antivirals – Drugs that can prevent and treat viruses like HIV/AIDS, herpes, and influenza

How to Prevent Infections

To prevent infections, our infectious disease specialists recommend:

  • Washing your hands often with soap and water
  • Getting recommended vaccines
  • Coughing into your elbow or a tissue
  • Not touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Cleaning surfaces like door knobs, refrigerator handles, phones, and faucets with a disinfectant
  • Avoiding contact with people you know are sick, if possible

Vaccinations

You can prevent some infectious diseases with vaccines. Vaccinations, also called immunizations, help your body’s immune system fight certain illnesses. Talk to your primary care provider about getting vaccinated for influenza (the flu), HPV, and other conditions.

Travel Medicine

Stay healthy while traveling to other countries. Learn more about travel medicine services from Essentia’s infectious disease team.

Antimicrobial Resistance

Learn about antibiotic overuse, resistance and stewardship.

Medical Insight: Antimicrobial Resistance Video Transcript

(SPEECH)
ANNOUNCER: Welcome to Medical Insight, a weekly health care feature brought to you by the experts at Essentia Health. Here's your host, Maureen Talarico. MAUREEN TALARICO: Today on Medical Insight, infectious disease and travel medicine doctor, Maxine Seales Kasangana and antimicrobial stewardship program manager, Stephanie Nixon, talk about antibiotic overuse, resistance, and stewardship.

(DESCRIPTION)
Dr. Kasangana

(SPEECH)
MAXINE SEALES KASANGANA: Antimicrobial it's basically any drug that is used to treat an infection that's caused by microorganisms. And these microorganisms are bacteria, fungus, virus, parasites,

(DESCRIPTION)
Pills and pill bottles

(SPEECH)
and hence the antimicrobials are antibiotics, antifungal, antivirals, and antiparasitics. MAUREEN TALARICO: According to Stephanie Nixon, there are several reasons why antimicrobial resistance is increasing worldwide. STEPHANIE NIXON: Overuse and misuse of antibiotics or antimicrobial agents have really led to our current state, in which we have increased resistance to the agents that are available on the market. And that essentially means the bugs have learned to outsmart the drugs. So we're running out of agents to treat infections. What we don't want is to get to a place where we or our children or our loved ones or friends or family have an infection that we can't treat.

(DESCRIPTION)
Toddler runs to a woman

(SPEECH)
MAUREEN TALARICO: While good hand hygiene and proper medication disposal are a start for combating the antimicrobial crisis, there are growing stewardship initiatives locally, nationally, and

(DESCRIPTION)
Stephanie Nixon

(SPEECH)
globally. STEPHANIE NIXON: What Essentia has been doing to support this effort, there is an Antimicrobial Review Committee in place. We've been integrating increased decision support in our electronic medical record that's consistent with treatment guidelines to determine when it's appropriate to prescribe an antibiotic

(DESCRIPTION)
Woman takes a pill

(SPEECH)
and then also providing education to both staff and to patients and families. MAUREEN TALARICO: For Medical Insight, I'm Maureen Talarico. ANNOUNCER: To learn more about this topic, call our experts at 786-3107.

(DESCRIPTION)
Essentia Health. org. Essential Health logo, consisting of three leaves in a circle

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