Leaders in Infectious Disease Treatment
Our infectious disease physicians at Stanford Health Care – ValleyCare provide expertise in diagnosing and treating a range of infections caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi, and other pathogens. With Stanford Medicine physicians working alongside community doctors, we provide convenient local care with access to the latest innovations and research.
What We Offer You for Infectious Disease Care
- Specialized expertise from infectious disease doctors who identify and treat general and immune-related infections, HIV, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and travel-related illnesses.
- Advanced treatment options including antiviral, antifungal, and antiparasitic treatments, in-depth diagnostic tests, and access to Stanford specialty clinics.
- Team-based approach to diagnosis and treatment with infectious medicine doctors who work with internists, pediatricians, and surgeons for comprehensive care.
- Ease of access, to care, with board-certified infectious disease specialists available at several hospital and outpatient locations in the Tri-Valley area.
Infectious diseases result from a wide variety of infections that can affect almost any part of the body. Infections can spread through viruses, bacteria, fungi, or parasites.
Stanford Health Care – ValleyCare doctors work hard to prevent and treat infectious diseases. Our team specializes in diagnoses that are challenging and complex. We identify the cause of infections due to:
- Meningitis or pneumonia
- Hospital-acquired or surgical-acquired infections
- Illnesses acquired by travel, HIV, tuberculosis, and hepatitis
- Worsening or new problems resulting from other treatment
- Unknown or hard-to-diagnose causes
Board-certified infectious disease specialists diagnose and treat challenging conditions so you can find relief.
Types of Infectious Disease
Infections can result from a variety of pathogens, which are microscopic organisms that enter the body and cause disease. The main categories of pathogens are:
- Bacteria: Single-celled organisms that cause illnesses such as urinary tract infections and strep throat
- Fungi: Organisms such as mold or yeast that cause infections such as ringworm or candidiasis (yeast infection)
- Parasites: Organisms that live off host organisms, causing diseases such as malaria and lice infection
- Viruses: Infectious organisms smaller than bacteria that cause illnesses and diseases ranging from colds and flu to COVID-19 and AIDS
Some infectious diseases affect the entire body. In severe cases, infections can cause sepsis, a systemic response where the body triggers changes that can cause organ damage.
- Fever of unknown origin (FUO): Chronic fever of more than 100 F with no known cause
- Recurrent infections of the skin or supportive tissues: Infections that develop and come back in skin, muscles, or fat
- Coccidioidomycosis (Valley fever): Fungal infection that causes cough, rash, and achy joints
- Lyme disease: A sometimes-debilitating bacterial disease transmitted through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks
Certain infections can result in autoimmune disorders, when your immune system mistakenly attacks your body. Other infections prey on an already-weakened immune system.
- AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome): Autoimmune disease caused by HIV viruses, which destroy specific white blood cells, increasing the risk of infections and cancer
- Immunodeficiency infections: Some types of cancer (such as lymphoma) and infections (including yeast infections) that attack a reduced immune system
- Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS): An infection-triggered condition that causes pain and severe, disabling fatigue
Gastrointestinal (GI) Conditions
Bacteria and parasites can attack the digestive tract — from the stomach and intestines through the colon and rectum. Infection causes nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or inability to absorb nutrients.
- Chronic diarrhea: Diarrhea of any underlying cause that lasts more than four weeks
- Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection: Bacterium in the stomach that can damage tissue and cause inflammation and peptic ulcers
Some infections affect the genitourinary region — the bladder, urethra, and reproductive organs. Infectious disease doctors may get involved in treatment if an infection recurs (comes back).
- Herpes virus infection: Viral infection causing contagious sores, usually around the mouth or on the genitals
- Urinary tract infection: Bacterial infection of the urethra, bladder, ureter, or kidneys, causing painful, frequent urination
- Sexually transmitted infection (STIs): Infections transmitted through sexual contact, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis (trich), syphilis, and HIV
Infections can affect bones, joints, and the muscles, tendons, and ligaments around them. Artificial implants around bones or joints can be prone to infection.
- Bone and joint infections: Bacterial infections that leave the bloodstream and multiply in bones, joints, or muscles
- Infections of prosthetic devices: Infections of different causes related to artificial devices in the body, including replacement joints, prostheses, and pacemakers
When you travel, you can contract infections that don’t often develop in the U.S. Infectious disease doctors provide vaccination and treatment for these uncommon conditions.
- Infections resulting from travel: Bacterial and viral illnesses acquired during travel, including Zika, cholera, avian flu, and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV)
- Tropical diseases: Infectious diseases that thrive in hot, tropical climates, such as schistosomiasis, dengue, and malaria
Infections are common throughout the respiratory tract, including the lungs, airways, nasal passages, and sinuses. Infectious disease doctors step in when an infection won’t clear or affects many people, like the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Chronic lung infection: Respiratory infections in the lungs and chest that occur repeatedly
- Cystic fibrosis (CF)-related infections: Hard-to-clear bacterial infections that develop in the sticky mucus collecting in the lungs of people with CF
- Mycobacterial infections of the lungs and skin: Bacteria related to tuberculosis bacteria that cause other infections, such as Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) infection
- Tuberculosis (TB): Chronic airborne bacterial infection that infects the lungs and sometimes other organs
The infectious disease team at Stanford Health Care – ValleyCare diagnose and treat people with bacterial, fungal, parasitic, or viral infection symptoms. Other doctors call on our team to help diagnose infections and manage complications for all types of infectious conditions.
We offer advanced diagnostics to find the cause of many types of infectious diseases, even those that are complex or hard to identify. Our infectious disease specialists use tests including:
These tests use small samples of material from your body, usually taken quickly in your doctor’s office, clinic, or hospital. In the lab, pathologists study the samples to look for clues to the source of infection.
- Blood test
- Urine test
- Nose or throat swab
- Stool sample
Imaging tests use high-energy beams to take images of the inside of your body. Doctors use these images to help identify any changes in your organs, bones, joints, or other tissue from an infection.
- Computed tomography (CT) scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans
Doctors may take tissue or fluid samples from inside your body. The results can tell your doctor how your body is responding to an infection. They also can reveal harder-to-spot causes of infection.
- Lumbar puncture (spinal tap): Using a needle to take a cerebrospinal fluid sample from your spinal column to check for brain and nervous system diseases
- Biopsy: Taking a small tissue sample to check for evidence of fungi or parasites
- Bone marrow biopsy: Removing a bit of tissue from inside a bone to help diagnose fever of unknown causes and some viral infections
We work with you and your primary medical team to treat infectious diseases as part of your overall care plan. Our doctors provide care for hospitalized patients at ValleyCare and see others at outpatient clinics.
Your treatment might include medications administered orally (by mouth), topically (by cream or ointment), or intravenously (through an IV into a vein). Examples include:
- Antibiotics: Antibiotics target specific bacteria. Some antibiotics lose their effectiveness with overuse. In those cases, we recommend alternate therapies.
- Antivirals: Our doctors can treat some viruses with antivirals. Common antivirals treat flu (influenza), HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and herpes.
- Antifungals: We use different antifungals depending on the type and location of the infection.
- Antiparasitics: Antiparasitic drugs work to eliminate parasitic infections, such as malaria, tapeworms, pinworms, hookworms, and giardiasis.
Your Infectious Disease Team
Stanford Health Care – ValleyCare offers a personalized approach to the complicated science of infectious disease treatment. Our infectious disease doctors work alongside the rest of your health care team to deliver an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment. We also offer travel vaccinations and related services.
Infectious Disease Doctor
Infectious disease doctors are internal medicine specialists who have additional training in epidemiology (how disease spreads) and immunology (how the immune system works). Their expertise is in identifying and treating diseases caused by bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses.View All Infectious Disease Doctors »
We help with the details so you can focus on your health and wellness. We offer a range of patient services and helpful information to coordinate the various aspects of your care:
Infectious medicine services at Stanford Health Care – ValleyCare offer expert care for all types of infection close to home. We specialize in treating rare and complex conditions, backed by the expertise of Stanford Health Care.
Convenient care where you live and work
- Insurance and billing: We accept several insurance plans to serve you. Find out more about patient financial services at Stanford Health Care-ValleyCare.
- Coordinated care: Infectious disease experts work with your other doctors, providing care in the hospital or our offices for outpatients.
- MyHealth: Our MyHealth system allows you to access your records and view test results through a secure, online portal and device app. You can also communicate with your doctors.