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Subspecialty Careers: Infectious Disease

The Discipline

From the Latin word inficere, "to dye or stain" but also "to corrupt or spoil." The ancients conceived that disease could result from the entrance of invisible agents into the body, a sort of "tainting."

Infectious disease medicine requires an understanding of the microbiology, prevention, and management of disorders caused by viral, bacterial, fungal, and parasitic infections. This understanding includes the appropriate use of antimicrobial agents, vaccines, and other immunobiological agents. Important content includes the environmental, occupational, and host factors that predispose to infection, as well as the basic principles of epidemiology and transmission of infection.

Procedures

Important procedural skills include the proper collection of culture specimens, Gram and other staining techniques. The specialist in infectious disease is an expert in ordering and interpreting antibiotic sensitivity tests and serum levels, CD4 counts, ELISA, polymerase chain reaction, immunoblotting studies, and serology for infections.

Training

Infectious disease fellowship training requires two years of accredited training beyond general internal medicine residency. During the two years, a minimum of 12 months must include clinical training in the diagnosis and management of a broad spectrum of medical diseases.

Certification

The American Board of Internal Medicine offers certification in infectious disease.

Training Positions

For the 2011-2012 academic year, there were 144 ACGME-accredited training programs in Infectious Disease with 746 active positions.

Major Professional Society

Major Publications

Imagine the Possibilities: Careers in Internal Medicine

This career-counseling brochure [PDF] contains information about careers in internal medicine and is designed for medical and pre-medical students.

Benefits of ACP Membership for Students: ACP's free Medical Student Membership includes benefits designed especially to meet students' needs.

Find a Residency

Search ACP's Internal Medicine Residency Database for information on all internal medicine residency programs in the U.S. and Canada. (ACP Members only)

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Have questions about the new ABIM MOC Program?

Have questions about the new ABIM MOC Program?

ACP explains the ABIM requirements and offers many free solutions to earn MOC points.

One Click to Confidence - Free to members

One Click to Confidence - Free to members ACP Smart Medicine is a new, online clinical decision support tool specifically for internal medicine. Get rapid point-of-care access to evidence-based clinical recommendations and guidelines. Plus, users can easily earn CME credit. Learn more