10 Saudi regions report considerable increase in communicable diseases


Saudi Gazette report

JEDDAH – There has been a considerable increase in cases of communicable diseases in 10 regions of the Kingdom in the past two years with dengue fever representing the highest number cases followed by chicken pox and hepatitis-B.

There were at least 5,428 cases of dengue fever, 4,523 cases of chicken pox and 4,327 cases of hepatitis-B, or jaundice, reported during the period.

A consultant in contagious diseases attributed the growing cases of hepatitis-B in Jeddah to the spread of dental clinics that provide poor quality services. “These clinics offer treatment without sterilizing tools,” he told Al-Watan Arabic daily.

The number of dengue cases in Jeddah was also high compared to other Saudi cities, said a statistical report on contagious diseases for 1436 AH and 1437 AH. Jeddah reported 4,323 dengue cases, followed by Jazan 550, and Makkah 450.

Madinah reported 56 dengue cases and Taif 31. Five regions reported only a few cases of dengue. The Eastern Province had nine cases, Riyadh 4, and Najran and Qunfudah two each. Al-Ahsa in the Eastern Province reported only one case, the report pointed out.

According to the report, chicken pox came second among infectious diseases across the country with 4,523 cases followed by hepatitis-B with 4,327 cases, Maltese fever with 4,062 cases and dysentery 2,336 cases. In addition, there were 744 food poisoning cases, 164 typhoid cases, 125 cases of measles, and 100 cases of hepatitis-A, the report said.

Other diseases reported in the last two years were: 20 incidents of tetanus, 14 cases of mumps, 14 cases of pneumococcal disease, 6 meningococcal cases, two cases of diphtheria and two cases of haemophilus influenza.

Dr. Nizar Bahbari, director of the Saudi Society for Infectious Diseases in the Western Province, blamed the increase in number of Dengue fever cases in Jeddah on the lack of an integrated plan to confront infectious diseases.

However, he commended the Health Ministry’s efforts to enlighten the public on contagious diseases by conducting home visits and educating people on the right use of water. “There is no proper coordination among different public agencies to tackle the outbreak of dengue fever in Jeddah. All parties concerned must join hands to eradicate the epidemic,” he told Al-Watan.

Dr. Bahbari, who is an expert on infectious diseases, stressed the need to support dental clinics that provide their services at cheaper rates to establish facilities to sterilize their tools. “This is essential to reduce the number of hepatitis-B cases in the country,” he added.