Communicable diseases account for around 8% of deaths in Qatar and remain a significant challenge for public health services.
Immunization and improved treatment have reduced mortality and morbidity rates in Qatar and across the world in recent years. Qatar’s Expanded Program of Immunization (EPI) ensures that all age groups are protected against priority diseases for their age group. The childhood immunization schedule protects children against 14 important vaccine preventable diseases. Together with the adult schedule, recommended vaccinations for high risk groups and the high rates of coverage assists with addressing communicable diseases.
However, there are a number of issues of concern that include the increasing worldwide antibiotic resistance, new threats such as Ebola and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and increasing worldwide travel facilitating the spread of disease.
In 2014, Varicella (chicken pox) and influenza-like illness were the most commonly reported communicable diseases in Qatar. The incidence of both these diseases increased between 2013 and 2014. Diseases that are often transmitted by food or water, including E. histolitica (amoebiasis), salmonella and typhoid food poisoning remain problematic.
Figure 19: Reported cases of selected communicable diseases in Qatar (2011-2015) with 2015 trend compared to 2014 (Source: Communicable Disease Bulletin, CDC Qatar 2015, June 2016)