Infectious diseases is a subspecialty concerned with contagious and tropical diseases. Its disciplines include epidemiology (studies of the incidence, transmission pathways and risk factors of contagious diseases), the observation of the symptoms and development of infections, diagnostic methods, curative treatments (antibiotics) and preventive measures (vaccinations), and hygiene education.

Infectious diseases specialists treat patients suffering from viral or bacterial infections, fungal infections and also parasitic infections. In addition, they deal with new infections in immunodeficient patients (following transplantation or cancers), with nosocomial (hospital-acquired) infections, infections with multiresistant bacteria, HIV or newly emergent infectious diseases such as H1N1 influenza.

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