What are Infectious Diseases?
An infectious disease is a disease caused by the presence of pathogenic microorganisms such as viruses, bacteria, fungi or parasites.
Infectious diseases vary in their ability to be spread from one person to another; those that do spread are known as contagious or communicable diseases.
Most minor infectious diseases e.g. warts, respiratory system infections, can be diagnosed by clinical presentation while in other cases it may be necessary to identify the particular microbe.
Many infectious diseases are diagnosed and treated by primary care doctors or by other medical or surgical teams in the hospital. However, in some cases, specialist doctors who have trained and have expertise in infectious diseases will become involved. This may be necessary when e.g. there is not a definite diagnosis, the patient is immunocompromised (their immune system is unable to fight the infection) or the disease has not responded to first line antibiotics.
At your outpatient visit you may be seen by a consultant, a registrar and/or a nurse.
The Infectious Diseases Service at Wellington Hospital contributes to the care of people with a wide variety of infections both within the hospital and in the Wellington/Kapiti/Hutt Valley regions.
We directly look after a small number of people on the Internal Medicine Ward. We also see a large number of people who are being looked after by other services throughout the hospital to offer advice on the appropriate management of problems due to infection.
We see a large number of people with non urgent problems in our outpatient clinics at the front of the new hospital.
We see people with:
- HIV infection
- infections after surgery
- travel associated infections such as malaria, dengue and typhoid
- infections after organ/bone marrow transplants or in people whose immune system is suppressed for other reasons
- infections that will require prolonged intravenous antibiotic treatment that we can often arrange to give at home – HITH service.