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The pattern and distribution of communicable diseases among medical admissions in Port Harcourt, Nigeria
Background: Global and regional estimates show that non-communicable diseases are rising in importance relative to other causes of ill health as populations age and the fight continues against communicable diseases. However, communicable diseases remain a major cause of mortality and morbidity in the developing world.
Aim: The study was carried out to determine the pattern of communicable diseases in the medical wards of the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, (UPTH) over four consecutive years (June2000 June 2004).
Methods: The study was retrospective and data were obtained from the medical registers in the medical wards and the records department of the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital. Medical admissions due to communicable diseases were carefully selected and analyzed.
Results: There were 1441 cases of various communicable diseases out of a total of 3294 medical admissions constituting 43.8%, while non-communicable diseases accounted for 56.2%.The top ten communicable diseases identified were tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, septicaemia, lobar pneumonia, acute viral hepatitis, chronic liver disease(viral), enteric fever, malaria, urinary tract infections and amoebic liver disease.
Conclusion: Communicable diseases still remain a major cause of morbidity in Port Harcourt hence the double burden of disease. There is need for improvement in housing, provision of portable water, immunization, health education and improved sanitation amongst other social amenities to reduce the scourge of communicable diseases in Nigeria.
Port Harcourt Medical Journal Vol. 1(1) September 2006: 52-55