Diseases & Conditions
Getting the right treatment for your infectious disease starts with proper diagnosis. West Suburban Medical Center's infectious disease doctors provide consultations and care for travel-related infectious diseases and emerging infectious diseases, and address concerns about infectious disease treatments. Below are some of the diseases and conditions we treat at West Suburban Medical Center.
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which kills or impairs cells of the immune system and progressively destroys the body's ability to fight infections and certain cancers. HIV is most commonly spread by sexual contact with an infected partner. Another important means of spreading HIV is contact with infected blood from contaminated needles, syringes or other drug paraphernalia.
Chickenpox is a highly contagious disease that usually occurs during childhood. The disease is caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV). Transmission occurs from person-to-person by direct contact or through the air by coughing or sneezing.
Diphtheria is an acute bacterial disease that can infect the body in the tonsils, nose, throat and/or the skin. While diphtheria was a common childhood disease in the 1930s, the vaccine against diphtheria has now made it very rare in the United States and other developing countries.
Ebola is a type of hemorrhagic fever, caused by the Ebola virus and marked by high fever, severe gastrointestinal distress, and bleeding.
Escherichia Coli (E. coli)
E. coli is one of many groups of bacteria that live in the intestines of healthy humans and most warm-blooded animals. E. coli bacteria help maintain the balance of normal intestinal flora (bacteria) against harmful bacteria and synthesize or produce some vitamins. One E. coli strain that causes a severe intestinal infection in humans is known as enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC). It’s the most common strain to cause illness in people. Symptoms usually begin two to five days after ingesting contaminated foods or liquids, and may last for up to eight days or more.
Giardiasis is an infectious diarrheal disease caused by the parasite Giardia intestinalis (also known as Giardia lamblia or Giardia duodenalis). This parasite can be transmitted through oral-fecal contact and by water contaminated by feces. Travelers are cautioned against drinking any untreated water.
Hepatitis B (HBV)
HBV has a wide range of clinical presentations. It can be mild, without symptoms, or it may cause chronic hepatitis and, in some cases, can lead to liver failure and death. Transmission of hepatitis B virus occurs through body fluid exposure such as blood, semen, vaginal secretions or saliva. Needle sticks, sharp instruments and sex with an infected person are primary modes of transmission.
The symptoms of hepatitis C are usually mild and gradual. Children and adults often show no symptoms at all. Transmission of hepatitis C occurs primarily from contact with infected blood, but can also occur from sexual contact, or from an infected mother to her baby. Although hepatitis C has milder symptoms initially, it leads to chronic liver disease in a majority of people who are infected.
Infectious mononucleosis, also known as mononucleosis, “mono,” or glandular fever, is characterized by swollen lymph glands, fever, sore throat and chronic fatigue. Mononucleosis is often spread through contact with infected saliva from the mouth. Symptoms can take between four to six weeks to appear and usually do not last beyond four months.
Influenza (or flu) is a highly contagious viral respiratory tract infection. It usually starts quickly, with fever, muscle aches, sore throat and a dry cough. People of all ages can get the flu. Although most people are ill with the flu for only a few days, some have a much more serious illness and may need to be hospitalized. The influenza virus is generally passed from person to person through the air when an infected person sneezes or coughs.
Lyme disease is a multisystem bacterial infection caused by the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi, a spiral-shaped bacterium that is most commonly transmitted by a tick bite. The list of possible symptoms is long, and symptoms can affect every part of the body.
Malaria is a disease caused by a parasite that is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected Anopheles mosquito. These mosquitoes are found in the tropics and subtropics in almost all countries. Nearly all cases of malaria in the United States are in people who have traveled internationally. Malaria is considered an entirely preventable and treatable disease. Treatment ensures elimination of the parasite from the blood, which prevents chronic or severe disease.
Measles, also known as rubeola, is a viral illness. It's characterized by a distinct rash and a fever. Measles is very contagious. It’s usually spread through direct contact with droplets from coughs or sneezes from a person with measles. Although not as common, it can be spread by droplets in the air.
Meningitis is a disease caused by an inflammation of the meninges, the membranes that surround the brain. The inflammation is usually caused by infection of the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord.
Mumps is an illness caused by a virus. It usually occurs in childhood. Mumps are easily spread by airborne droplets from the upper respiratory tract. The disease usually takes two to three weeks to appear. Since the introduction of the mumps vaccine, cases of mumps in the United States are uncommon.
Pneumonia is an infection of one or both of the lungs. It's caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi or chemical irritants. Pneumonia is a serious infection or inflammation in which the air sacs fill with pus and other liquid.
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Rocky Mountain spotted fever is an infection caused by the bite of an infected tick. It affects over 2,000 people a year in the United States and usually occurs from April until September, but it can occur anytime during the year where the weather is warm. The mid-Atlantic and southeastern states are most affected.
Rubella, sometimes called German measles, is an acute viral infection that causes a mild illness in children and slightly more severe illness in adults. The disease is spread person-to-person through airborne particles and takes two to three weeks to incubate. The vaccine is effective, and the illness, along with the birth defects it causes, is preventable.
Salmonella infections are diarrheal infections caused by the bacteria salmonella. The salmonella germ is actually a group of bacteria that can cause diarrheal illness in humans. There are many different kinds of salmonella bacteria. Salmonella are transmitted from feces of people or animals to other people or animals.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)
STDs are infectious diseases transmitted through sexual contact. It is estimated that 20 million new cases occur annually in the United States. Half of the new infections occur in people between ages 15 and 24 years.
Shingles, or herpes zoster, is a common viral infection of the nerves, which results in a painful rash or small blisters on the skin. It’s caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox, which lies dormant in your body and can reappear as shingles. It can appear anywhere on the body, but it typically appears on only one side of the face or body. Burning or shooting pain and tingling or itching are early signs of the infection.
West Nile Virus
The West Nile virus belongs to a group of viruses known as flaviviruses, commonly found in Africa, West Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Flaviviruses are spread by insects, most often mosquitoes. West Nile virus occurs in late summer and early fall in temperate zones, but can occur year-round in southern climates. Usually, the West Nile virus causes mild, flu-like symptoms.
Whooping cough, or pertussis, is very contagious and mainly affects infants and young children. Whooping cough is caused by a bacterium called Bordetella pertussis. The illness is characterized by coughing spells that end with a characteristic "whoop" as air is inhaled.
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