Infectious Disease

Infection Prevention and Control

The Care New England Infection Prevention and Control Departments promote patient safety by implementing nationally recognized best practices to prevent and control infection and by educating patients, families, staff, and the community. From diagnosing your condition to using the latest treatment techniques, you can count on our expert team to help restore your health so you can get back to the life you love.

Our infectious disease specialists provide prevention and treatment of diseases caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites, including tick-borne diseases, tuberculosis, urinary tract infections, skin infections, fungal infections, infections related to cancer, and immune deficiencies, and more. 


Contact Information

Care New England Medical Group Infectious Disease

Kent Hospital
455 Toll Gate Road
Warwick, RI 02886
P: (401) 736-1072



Infectious diseases come in many forms. They can be spread through direct and indirect contact with humans and animals, as well as through contaminated foods and insects.

Vaccinations, good hygiene, and practicing proper food handling are the best defenses against infections, but they are unavoidable at times and part of our lives.

Some infectious diseases aren’t contagious, while others can be easily transmitted. Understanding what caused the infection helps doctors treat your symptoms and points to the necessary measures to keep the infection from spreading to other people.

Your doctor may order diagnostic tests, like:
  • Biopsy
  • Blood or urine tests
  • Cultures 
  • Imaging
  • Spinal taps 
  • Stool samples
  • Throat swabs

Viruses vs Bacteria

Everyone has germs in their bodies called bacteria and viruses. Viruses usually cause sickness, while there are both “good” and “bad” bacteria. Certain bacteria are normally found inside your body and help in normal bodily processes.


A virus is a microscopic organism that attacks the cells of a living organism and can live inside a host as well as on surfaces. Many are dangerous and can cause minor to severe disease and illness. A virus commonly can be spread from droplets that are sprayed through coughing or sneezing or can be airborne.


Bacteria are single-cell organisms that can live anywhere and on any surface. They can be located inside and outside of the body. Some are beneficial to everyday life, while others can be extremely harmful. Many of these microbial agents are found in parts of the body like the gut and help break down the contents, while others can cause severe infection, both on the inside and on the surface of the body.


Antibiotics are drugs that kill bacteria germs and can only treat sickness that is caused by bacteria. This includes strep throat, urinary tract infections (UTI), skin infections, and many others.

Antibiotics don’t work on illnesses caused by viruses. This includes most flu and common cold symptoms, such as sore throats, sinus infections, chest colds, and bronchitis.

Taking an antibiotic when you don’t need it can also make your body resistant to antibiotics – meaning the next time you really need antibiotics to fight a bacterial infection, they may not work as well to cure you.

Prevention Methods
  • Wash Your Hands - Hand hygiene is the single most effective way to prevent the spread of infection to yourself and others 
  • Cover Your Cough - Cover your cough and sneezes to prevent the spread of respiratory infections to other people including influenza.

Infectious Diseases Consultation Services
at Women & Infants Hospital

Women & Infants Hospital offers one of the nation’s only Women's Infectious Diseases Consult Services, a collaborative service of the hospital’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Department of Medicine,
as well as the Integrated Program for High-Risk Pregnancy.

Both Inpatient and Outpatient services are provided in conditions related to obstetrics and gynecology and their respective subspecialties. These include pregnancy and gynecologic infections, and general infectious diseases in women.

Learn More

Pharmacy Services

Young Female Pharmacist Talking to a Customer at the Counter Pleasantly.The clinical pharmacy team at the Care New England Pharmacy will work with you and your provider to find the right treatment and medication. They will provide assistance in finding and implementing medications that work with your lifestyle, evaluation of potential drug interactions, and assistance in resolving other medication-related problems or challenges.

After Care

It is important to see a physician regularly, including after a serious infection. A Primary Care Physician is vital to assist patients in helping to monitor the progress of your health but to also help in a patient’s journey to long-term health maintenance. We are dedicated to providing you with convenient, compassionate, and comprehensive health care. Our providers are experienced with both preventive care to keep you healthy, as well as the treatment of acute illnesses and chronic medical diseases. We also focus on patient education and collaboration to create treatment plans that our patients understand and feel comfortable with.

Learn More About Primary Care Services

Diseases We Consult and Treat

Our infectious disease consultants and infectious disease specialists team with patients to provide consultations for and treatment for conditions such as:


A pocket of puss resulting from inflammation due to an infected area of the body, which can be drained or treated with antibiotics.

Clostridium Difficile (C. diff)

C. diff is one of the most common infections and is an increasingly frequent cause of death among older adults. C. difficile colonizes the human intestinal tract after the normal gut flora has been disrupted and can be the cause of antibiotic-associated colitis.

Diphtheria is caused by strains of bacteria that produce toxins. Infection may lead to respiratory disease or cutaneous disease, or someone can be asymptomatic. It can lead to serious health concerns, including difficulty breathing, heart failure, or death.
Escherichia Coli (E. coli)
E. coli is a common cause of gastrointestinal disruption and illness and can be virulent. Although naturally found in the gastrointestinal tract, the bacteria can become pathogenic when it acquires additional genetic material, and needs to be treated with antibiotics. It can be caused by eating contaminated food, contact with the bacteria, or ingested through fluids, including water.
Food Poisoning
Food that has spoiled or contains toxins, parasites, bacteria, or viruses can cause symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, stomach pain, headaches, and fever.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV or HIV/AIDS)
Spread usually through infected blood or bodily fluids through sexual contact, HIV is a virus that attacks the immune system and destroys cells that help fight disease. Untreated it can progress to AIDS, or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.
Legionella bacteria, commonly called Legionnaires’ disease, are intracellular pathogens and can cause pneumonia. Legionnaires' disease can be severe and can cause other diseases such as cellulitis, abscesses, endocarditis, or meningitis. Contaminated water can be a cause.
Endemic throughout many parts of the world, malaria is caused by a parasite and is most commonly transmitted by bites from infected mosquitoes. It can cause fever, body aches and chills, and can be treated with medication. This disease is serious and can be fatal.
Meningitis causes inflammation of the tissues surrounding the brain and spinal cord and is defined by an abnormal number of white blood cells in the cerebrospinal fluid. It can be found virally, bacterially, and fungal. It is treatable, but it can also be fatal. It can be spread through bodily fluids, including water.
Methicillin-Resistant Staph Aureus (MRSA)

MRSA is caused by a type of staph bacteria that becomes resistant to many of the antibiotics used to treat ordinary staphylococcus infections. It causes painful skin lesions that can also fill with puss and become an abscess, and it can be spread from skin-to-skin contact or from indirect contact. It is very contagious.

Bone infection that can result in pain, warmth, erythema, fever, and shivering. It can impact bones in different parts of the body, including vertebrae, and can result in further complications that can include arthritis, abscesses, tissue infections, and deformities.
Pseudomonas Aeruginosa Infection
 A bacterial infection that can be very dangerous due to the organism’s antibiotic-resistant properties. It has been associated with contaminated water, eye care solutions, and hot tubs, and can be fatal to those who are immunocompromised and obtain a severe case. Symptoms are wide-ranging and can include fever, chills, chest pain, fatigue, difficulty breathing, coughing with occasionally colored mucus, as well as other attributes such as ear pain and discharge, skin rashes, eye pain, swelling in the bones or joints, headaches and diarrhea.
A bacterial infection that results in fever, diarrhea, stomach pain, and chills, and usually occurs as a foodborne illness or not properly handling contaminated animal products, such as poultry, chicken eggs, and milk, but also occurs from the handling or touching of other animals such as reptiles and pets.
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)

Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) – A respiratory coronavirus that spreads quickly from person to person and has been the subject of recent outbreaks and epidemics. It is characterized by fever, coughing, difficulty breathing, and shortness of breath, and can lead to pneumonia.

Skin Infections
Commonly bacterial, some skin infections include cellulitis, impetigo, folliculitis, erysipelas, carbuncles, and furuncles. Many of these infections are caused by streptococcus or staphylococcus bacteria and require varying degrees of treatment. The trademark symptoms are rashes, sores, pustules, crusting, or clusters of bumps.
Dangerous bacterial infection where vaccination is required and common in the United States and elsewhere. It is associated with traumatic physical injuries caused by certain objects such as nails and can result in a severe condition called trismus (lockjaw) where the mouth is not able to be opened. Other symptoms called include intense pain and muscle spasms.
Transplant-Related Infections

Some may include bacterial pneumonia, urinary infections, fungal infections, and viruses such as cytomegalovirus.

Tropical Diseases
Many of these conditions are caused by an insect or from certain environmental conditions, such as malaria, schistosomiasis, onchocerciasis, Chagas disease, trypanosomiasis, leprosy, Dengue fever, leishmaniasis, and many others.
Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococcus (VRE)
Bacteria that is difficult to treat and is resistant to a powerful antibiotic called vancomycin due to clusters of genes within the bacteria. It has been the subject of a number of epidemics. It affects the gastrointestinal system and is usually spread by contaminated hands touching certain surfaces or equipment.
West Nile Virus
A Virus that is usually caused by a mosquito bite that can result in severe encephalitis and meningitis. Individuals of advanced age, cancer, who have received organ transplants, or have certain genetic factors are more susceptible to severe symptoms. There is a so-called “West Nile Fever” sometimes associated with the disease that includes the abrupt onset of fever, headache, fatigue, back pain, and a loss of appetite, while a sore throat, diarrhea, stomach pain, nausea, and eye pain can also occur.

The coronavirus COVID-19 has been introduced into our lives, and it is important to understand the disease and how to spreads. Our hospitals and facilities have implemented safety measures in order to minimize the potential of exposure. These include patient visitation restrictions, holding vaccination clinics, requiring face masks of all individuals, and partnering in the Safer Together program to support enhanced cleaning.


Typically caused by Campylobacter jejuni or Campylobacter coli, this condition is largely a foodborne disease that is a major cause of diarrhea. The organism inhabits the intestinal tracts of a wide range of animal hosts, notably poultry, and infection can also be transmitted through water-borne outbreaks and direct contact with animals or animal products.
Cytomegalovirus Disease
Although common, and rarely serious in most cases, this disease can be damaging to immunocompromised patients, including solid organ transplant recipients, hematopoietic cell transplant recipients, HIV-infected patients, and patients treated with immunomodulating drugs. It can be a cause of hepatitis, pneumonitis, retinitis, encephalitis, and colitis, among other resulting disease.
One of the world’s most virulent pathogens, epidemics of Ebola virus disease are generally thought to begin when an individual becomes infected through contact with the body fluids of an infected animal, such as a bat. The virus can cause major degrees of symptoms, including hemorrhaging and can be spread from human to human. The fatality rate upon transmission can be high.
Eastern Equine Encephalitis
A virus that causes inflammation or swelling of the brain, and can lead to severe symptoms, or even death. It is most commonly caused by mosquito or tick bites.
Fungal Infections
There are many fungal infections, and they can be transmitted by contact through mold spores or skin contact. The most common are forms of Tinea (Ringworm rash on the body or “Athlete’s Foot” on the feet), fungal nail infections, Candida infections (“yeast infections” of the genitals and “thrush” in the mouth or throat, fungal eye infections, or soil-originated Blastomycosis. Others may be found in different parts of the world.
Influenza (Flu)
Influenza (flu) - Influenza is an acute respiratory illness caused viruses that can occur in outbreaks and epidemics worldwide. It is one of the most common viral infections, and it has been associated with some of the most profound pandemics in world history. Signs and symptoms include fever, headache, and weakness. There is a vaccine available to be reinjected annually. Learn More >>
Lyme Disease
It is an inflammatory disease caused by bacteria and transmitted by tick bites. It presents as a rash, headache, fever, and body aches and possibly later by arthritic symptoms and neurological and cardiac disorders. It can be treated by antibiotics, but the effects of the disease can be long-lasting.

Measles is a highly contagious viral illness that occurs worldwide and is characterized by fever, cough, fatigue, and conjunctivitis, as well as a rash. Following exposure, the majority of those susceptible will develop measles. Vaccines are available, and it is common and standard practice to vaccinate children in many countries.


Infectious mononucleosis is characterized by fever, tonsillar pharyngitis, and swollen lymph nodes and results in extreme fatigue. It is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus and is spread through bodily fluids, such as saliva.


Mumps is a highly contagious viral illness that is largely preventable through vaccination. Typically, it begins with a few days of fever, headache, myalgia, fatigue, and lack of appetite, followed by swelling of the saliva glands between the ears and jaw.

A common infection caused by bacteria, a virus, fungi, or other irritants, and causes inflammation in the air sacs of one or both lungs. It can be fatal under certain circumstances. Symptoms range from limited shortness of breath and productive cough to fever, respiratory distress, and sepsis. Treatment may consist of antibiotics, rest and fluid intake, or hospitalization in severe cases as well as certain therapies.
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Bacterial infection caused by a tick bite and can result in fevers, chills, headache, nausea, stomach pain, vomiting, muscle aches, joint pain, or even rashes or discolored skin at the site of the bite. It can also result in vascular injury and clotting, as well as pneumonitis, encephalitis, and myocarditis, and it is treated with antibiotics.

Sepsis Infection
Extreme inflammatory response within the body to fight off other infections, and can lead to multiple organ failure and death. Symptoms involve fever, low blood pressure, rapid heart rate, difficulty breathing, and confusion. Many instances of sepsis occur after an infection in the lungs, urinary tract, gastrointestinal tract, and skin.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
  • Sexually transmitted diseases can most often occur through direct and unprotected sexual contact. Commonly, symptoms usually include a combination of the following:
  • Pain or discomfort during sex or urination
  • Sores, bumps, or rashes on or around the vagina, anus, buttocks, thighs, or mouth
  • Unusual discharge or bleeding from the genitals
  • Itchiness in or around the genital area

These diseases can also be contracted by sharing needles. Common types include chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, HIV, human papillomavirus (HPV), lice, syphilis, and trichomoniasis.

Staph Infection

Staphylococcus aureus bacteria usually cause skin infections and result in rashes, sores, and boils and are associated with other skin infections such as cellulitis and impetigo. It can also be a common cause of food poisoning that results in vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and dehydration. The bacteria can also cause more severe complications, including toxic shock syndrome from the toxins that some strains contain, septic arthritis, as well as bone and joint pain, abscesses, endocarditis, and lung conditions after entering the bloodstream.

Toxic Shock Syndrome
Closely associated with a staphylococcal infection, it is an illness that may include the rapid onset of fever, skin rash, low blood pressure, and the failure of multiple organs.
Travel-Related Infections

These may include food or water-borne pathogens, hepatitis, malaria, dengue fever, parasites, typhoid fever, yellow fever, tuberculosis, or Zika virus.

A very common bacterial infection that usually affects the lungs and is usually spread from coughing and sneezing. Symptoms include coughing, which can include projecting blood, as well as fever, night sweats, chest pain, difficulty breathing, and weight loss. There are a variety of tests to diagnose the disease, and it can be treated with antibiotics. The cause of many epidemics and outbreaks throughout history, it formally was referred to as “consumption” in the past and is highly contagious. Risk factors include HIV infection, excessive substance use, environmental conditions, smoking, and having cancer.
Viral Hepatitis

The most common form of hepatitis, the virus causes inflammation in the liver and can damage the organ. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, joint pain, loss of appetite, dark-colored urine, light-colored stool, and jaundice of the skin.

Whooping Cough
Pertussis (“whooping cough”) is a bacterial infection of the lungs that causes rapid and uncontrollable coughing, as well as vomiting and apnea, particularly in infants and children. Vaccines for children are widespread, particularly in the United States, and common. It is spread through coughing and sneezing, and severe results of the disease are seizures, encephalopathy, and death, which are extremely rare.