Infectious Disease Diagnosis

Before giving a diagnosis for an infectious disease, a physician may need to conduct testing. While extremely common infectious diseases such as colds and sinus infections are easily diagnosable, others cannot be conclusively diagnosed without laboratory tests.

Bodily fluids such as blood, urine, and saliva will usually present evidence of the organism that is to blame for an infection. Physicians use laboratory testing to collect and analyze samples of one or more of these fluids for signs of bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi. A stool sample may also be collected, as well as cerebrospinal fluid from the lower spine. In most all cases, laboratory testing is relatively painless.

Some patients may require more extensive testing, like X-ray imaging or tissue biopsies. These methods are often used to rule out more serious conditions or to confirm the results of an inconclusive laboratory test.

Testing is key to an accurate infectious disease diagnosis, but certain patient symptoms may give clues as to what type of testing would be most appropriate. Symptoms will vary considerably according to the specific type and extent of the infection, but the most basic indicators of an infectious disease include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches and weakness
  • Upset stomach 

Tampa General Hospital provides comprehensive infectious diseases diagnosis and treatment services to adults. Our physicians, surgeons, and infectious disease specialists work together to efficiently provide each patient with an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan tailored to their individual condition, needs, and healthcare preferences.