In-hospital visits by infectious diseases (ID) specialists
If you’ve been admitted to hospital for any reason, your primary specialist physician or surgeon may refer you to an ID specialist for several reasons:
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR)
After years of antimicrobial overuse, certain micro-organisms (germs) in hospitals around the world have become resistant to treatment. “Antimicrobials” include antibiotics (for bacterial infections), and other treatments against viruses, fungi, and parasites. These drug-resistant organisms now require newer medications which are sometimes very expensive or difficult to obtain.
In certain instances, organisms may be “pan-resistant” to all known drugs – this is very serious, because no effective treatment exists.
Infection prevention and control (IPC)
To prevent resistant organisms from spreading in the ward, affected patients may often need to be isolated until they’ve recovered. The IPC nursing staff usually organise or help out with this process. Sometimes “healthy” patients admitted from home or other hospitals may be screened for resistant organisms to prevent transmission.
Antimicrobial stewardship (AMS)
AMS is important to preserve our antibiotics for the future; it needs to be practiced by all doctors, sometimes with the aid of ID specialists. Along with microbiologists, nurses, and pharmacists, we help to monitor that antimicrobials are used appropriately in the hospital. This includes making sure that patients receive it only when really necessary, at the correct doses, and for the correct duration. Ensuring rational antimicrobial use will help to prevent further worsening of antimicrobial resistance in the future.