Infectious diseases involve maladies caused by pathogenic microorganisms that invade tissue, often with serious health consequences. These can involve bacteria, viruses, parasites or fungi. They can be spread directly or indirectly. Some are airborne, some waterborne and some spread by contact with a contaminated surface. Some can transfer from person to person via skin contact, breathing in aerosolized particles or exchange of bodily fluids. Others are more difficult to acquire. For some people, the health effects can be mild—for others, deadly.
Zoonotic diseases are those infectious diseases of animals that can cause disease when transmitted to humans. Among these in the U.S. Southwest are plague, tularemia, leptospirosis and hantavirus. Others can be acquired because of optimal habitats of disease vectors and hosts that include ticks (Colorado tick fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and Lyme disease), kissing bugs (Chagas disease) and mosquitoes (Zika and West Nile virus, dengue, malaria and chikungunya).
At the University of Arizona Division of Infectious Diseases, we specialize in identifying, determining and advising on the best course of treatment for any number of these related diseases, including Valley fever which is caused by fungal spores endemic to soils of the Southwest. We provide state-of-the-art care for individuals suffering from infectious diseases, perform cutting-edge clinical, translational and basic science research and train the next generation of infectious disease physicians.
Our division currently has flourishing programs in the areas of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) care—including a large, federally funded Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program; antimicrobial stewardship; and extramurally funded research in HIV immunopathogenesis and care, coccidiomycosis (also known as Valley fever), and aging.
NOTE: Applications for the Infectious Disease Fellowship Program opened in ERAS on July 15. For more information, click here. Welcome, applicants!