The Investigative Nature of an Infectious Disease Specialist

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Infectious Disease Specialists are Master Detectives in the Medical World

Picture this. A patient with a mysterious sickness is referred to an infectious-disease (ID) specialist. The patient presents with a fever of unknown origin (FUO). In addition to examining her and ordering a series of preliminary blood tests, an infectious disease specialist will obtain a highly-detailed history, one of the primary investigative tools of the ID specialist.

This patient is a distance runner whose favorite place to train is an abandoned horse facility outside the city—abandoned except for all the stray cats. In the course of running through the fields, the woman has brushed up against fences and posts—objects that can easily transmit infectious agents.

An infectious disease specialist like Dr. Serge Lartchenko will use this information – information which might escape other professionals – to determine the root cause of the patient’s mysterious fever. Diagnosis? Toxoplasmosis, a common parasitic disease which can infect most warm-blooded animals and is most frequently spread by cats. He would prescribe a special antibiotic to clear the condition.

This is the intriguing, unpredictable, sometimes puzzling world of infectious diseases. Equal parts diagnostician and detective, these specially trained medical doctors shine when they are called in to solve cases that have stumped other medical professionals.

Infectious disease doctors do not specialize in just one organ or system of the human body – they must know the entire body intimately. They must also be more than familiar with epidemiology—the study of the patterns, causes, and effects of health and disease conditions in defined populations. History can even sometimes play a pivotal role in reaching a diagnosis.

Apart from medical skills, an infectious disease specialist must also be an expert at asking detailed questions and at listening closely to the answers – a skill set that is not always fully developed among many busy doctors. Dr. Lartchenko excels in this highly specialized field and is a leader among his peers. If you find yourself in need of an infectious disease specialist, call Texas Infectious Disease Institute for a consultation.