Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh: Infectious Diseases Symposium

As a medical specialty, infectious diseases present a series of ever-moving targets. Just as the Ebola epidemic in west Africa finally appears to be at an end, Zika virus has emerged in the Americas, joining dengue and chikungunya as mosquito-borne viral diseases that have increased in range in recent years. There is a real prospect of eradicating malaria, the classic mosquito-borne disease, but progress achieved in the past couple of decades is threatened by emergence of drug resistance. Increasing resistance to antibiotics has been called as great a threat to human health as climate change. As well as developing new drugs, conservation of existing antibiotics is essential in both high-income and low-income settings. Alongside emerging infectious threats, well-established diseases present management challenges. There are limited options for treating aspergillus infections, and despite decades of research, no specific therapies for sepsis. With a rising prevalence of diabetes, management of infections related to this chronic disease is complex and controversial. Antiretroviral therapy has turned HIV infection into a chronic disease, but brought its own issues related to effects of long-term drug therapy and an ageing patient population. The research that has gone into finding new drugs for HIV has also benefited treatment for hepatitis B, but the disease remains common, underdiagnosed, and relatively neglected compared with HIV. Of course, most of the multitude of microbial organisms that live in us and on us are benign or beneficial, and in the past decade research into how human beings interact with their microbiome has been increasingly active. These topics will all be covered by the symposium.

The content of the symposium is designed to be of interest to those working in infectious diseases, general medicine, medical specialties, tropical medicine, and general practice. The programme includes a range of international and UK speakers, all acknowledged to be experts in their field.

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