Recommended

MedlinePlus – Infections

MedlinePlus - Infections is a good starting place for those interested seeking information about common infections affecting humans, including diagnosis, treatment, prevention, antibiotic resistance, infection control, and immunizations. The section includes a medical encyclopedia and links to a variety outside resources related to infectious diseases. This MedlinePlus section is recommended for information provided by some of the most authoritative and reputable sources in the medical field, but other sites will be needed to learn about a wider range of infectious diseases

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Review Date: 4/15/2019

Scoring

Ease of Use

The section has intuitive navigation by A-Z topic list. Each listed topic leads to a page with a brief summary of the disease and numerous links to additional information. There are also right-hand lists that allow access to the medical encyclopedia and other topics related to the condition. Because the unique nature of MedlinePlus, with its many links to outside resources, users must constantly jump from this site to others and then back again; the resulting navigation can be tedious.

Visual Design

The home page is visually uninteresting with only a simple list of topics, without any images or other infographics to appeal to users.

Quality

Users will find very narrow breadth that will require users to seek other sources for more complete coverage of the large number of infections. Inconsistent referencing make the veracity of each MedlinePlus page for a disease or condition variable. Topics found in the medical encyclopedia are well referenced, while this is inconsistent for disease summaries and information from linked sites. However, most links go to respected federal or specialty organization sites.

Credibility

MedlinePlus clearly identifies the organizations responsible for the content, which include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Academy of Pediatrics, and National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases. Users will find that the medical encyclopedia topics have the highest reliability by listing reviewers and date of last review. Although MedlinePlus does a great job updating it's pages regularly, the currency of linked sites varies, and individual authors/editors of each topic page are not identified & only occasionally on the linked sites.

Pros

  1. Extensive Medical Encyclopedia with information about and related to infectious diseases affecting humans
  2. Many links to reliable and up-to-date information about common infections diagnosis, treatment, and prevention
  3. Helpful information on antibiotic resistance, infection control, and immunizations

Cons

  1. There are only a limited number of infections to learn about
  2. User-friendliness of materials vary depending on the external website referenced here
  3. Users will have to spend significant time navigating and reading in order to get helpful information

Profile

Sponsors / Affiliations: The U.S. National Library of Medicine, The National Institutes of Health

Accreditations: None

Additional Features: Patient handouts, videos, images, relevant journal articles, specialist finder, links to research, health check tools, clinical trials

Languages: English, Spanish

Contact: custserv@nlm.nih.gov

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