The infectious diseases specialist is a medical doctor dedicated to the management of infectious diseases in their individual and collective dimensions.
The aim of this paper was to evaluate the current profile and distribution of infectious diseases specialists in Brazil.
This is a cross-sectional study using secondary data obtained from institutions that register medical specialists in Brazil. Variables of interest included gender, age, type of medical school (public or private) the specialist graduated from, time since finishing residency training in infectious diseases, and the interval between M.D. graduation and residency completion. Maps are used to study the geographical distribution of infectious diseases specialists.
A total of 3229 infectious diseases specialist registries were counted, with 94.3% (3045) of individual counts (heads) represented by primary registries. The mean age was 43.3 years (SD 10.5), and a higher proportion of females was observed (57%; 95% CI 55.3-58.8). Most Brazilian infectious diseases specialists (58.5%) practice in the Southeastern region. However, when distribution rates were calculated, several states exhibited high concentration of infectious diseases specialists, when compared to the national rate (16.06). Interestingly, among specialists working in the Northeastern region, those trained locally had completed their residency programs more recently (8.7yrs; 95% CI 7.9-9.5) than physicians trained elsewhere in the country (13.6yrs: 95% CI 11.8-15.5).
Our study shows that Brazilian infectious diseases specialists are predominantly young and female doctors. Most have concluded a medical residency training program. The absolute majority practice in the Southeastern region. However, some states from the Northern, Northeastern and Southeastern regions exhibit specialist rates above the national average. In these areas, nonetheless, there is a strong concentration of infectious diseases specialists in state capitals and in metropolitan areas.