The Communicable Diseases Unit at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) and the Supreme Council of Health’s (SCH) Medical Commission Department are working hard to keep communicable diseases such as tuberculosis and hepatitis at bay through early detection, prompt diagnosis and effective treatment, HMC Infectious Diseases Senior Consultant, Dr. Husam Al Soub has said.
Dr. Al Soub, who is also an Associate Professor at Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, said every single case of communicable disease detected is being dealt with appropriately. “Once we are informed of any suspected case of communicable disease, we will isolate the patient and provide him/her with all necessary medical treatment to ensure the patient is totally cured and out of danger of developing severe complications from the infection.”
The most common types of communicable diseases are those affecting the respiratory system such as flu, bronchitis and lung diseases. These diseases have significant prevalence, particularly during winter and spring, in addition to the presence of other diseases like tuberculosis, malaria, typhoid, brucellosis and viral diseases.
He stressed that chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension do not increase the risk of contracting communicable diseases, but they can increase the severity of the diseases’ complications. “Most deaths caused by epidemic communicable diseases happen among those having chronic diseases like diabetes due to their weak body immunity,” he noted.
However, Dr. Al Soub said some communicable diseases, such as tuberculosis, have a 99% cure rate. “Last year, there were 469 reported cases of tuberculosis and 99% were successfully treated. Tuberculosis medications have significantly advanced, making it much easier for a patient to take his medications more regularly, as three or four drugs have now been replaced by only one drug.”
He also mentioned that about 600 cases of malaria were reported here last year. “Malaria may be fatal. It is better to take proper prevention procedures that help maintain this disease at zero level. Most patients suffering from malaria are those who travel abroad without taking necessary vaccinations or preventive precautions before they leave. Fortunately, malaria medications are available here in Qatar,” he said.
According to him, most illnesses commonly seen during summer are gastroenteritis, diarrhea, stomach flu, food poisoning and typhoid.
Dr. Al Soub mentioned that the Communicable Diseases Unit at HMC is currently working on a number of research studies relating to some communicable diseases like brucellosis (an infectious disease caused by bacteria), in addition to research studies on antibiotic resistance bacteria.
“Every member of the community should regularly receive communicable diseases’ preventive vaccines to ward off illnesses, and they should ask their GP in the Primary Healthcare Center for more information,” Dr. Al Soub advised.