Infectious diseases are caused by bacteria, fungi, parasites or viruses and range from harmless to life threatening.

Many infectious diseases live within our bodies and can spread from one person to another, through insects or animals or after consuming contaminated food or water.
The most common type of infection is the common cold, while other infections like AIDS or tuberculosis are much more harmful. Infection symptoms depend on the type of virus and can affect your whole body or one part. Infections are commonly found in the respiratory system, digestive tract, lungs, reproductive and urinary tracts.  

How to Prevent Infectious Diseases?

  • Antibiotics when warranted
  • Frequent hand-washing 
  • Safe and sanitary handling of food 
  • Vaccines and immunizations 

When to See a Doctor

You should see a doctor if you have experienced:
  • Animal bites
  • Difficulty breathing 
  • Excessive coughing 
  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Severe headache
  • Vision problems 


Our board-certified physicians and specially trained staff are experts in diagnosing and treating infectious diseases, including (but not limited to): 

  • Bone and joint infections
  • Bone marrow infections
  • Central nervous system infections
  • Digestive (gastrointestinal tract) infections
  • Eye infections
  • Ear, nose and throat (ENT) infections
  • Foodborne and waterborne infections
  • Forms of bacteria
  • Heart (cardiovascular) infections
  • Hepatic and biliary infections
  • HIV infection
  • Hospital-acquired (nosocomial) infections 
  • Infections of indwelling venous and arterial catheters and prosthetic devices
  • Intra-abdominal infections
  • Lower respiratory infections
  • Microbial toxins
  • Organ transplant infections 
  • Post-operative infections and pre-operative antimicrobial prevention
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • Skin and soft tissue infections
  • Upper respiratory infections
  • Urinary and genitourinary infections
  • Viral exanthems and enanthems
  • Viruses

If you’ve experienced the signs of an infectious disease, contact Cook County Health at (312) 864-0200 to schedule an appointment.