Communicable Diseases Centre (CDC)
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The Communicable Diseases Centre (CDC) is one of Singapore's oldest hospitals. In 1907, it began as an isolation camp, adjoining the Pauper Hospital and the Leper Asylum in Serangoon Road, for patients with infectious diseases. Between 1907 and 1931, hospital buildings were added, and it became the Government Infectious Diseases Hospital and later the Middleton Hospital. In 1985, the Hospital was absorbed into the Tan Tock Seng Hospital and its name changed to the Communicable Diseases Centre (CDC). Today, CDC is the national centre for the management of communicable and infectious diseases.
Singapore's early cases of infectious diseases were treated at the wards of the General or Pauper Hospitals (old name of Tan Tock Seng Hospital). They were moved to the new Quarantine Camp at Moulmein Road in 1907. This camp, adjoining the Pauper Hospital and the Leper Asylum in Serangoon Road, was also known at the Government Infectious Diseases Camp. Between 1907 and 1931, hospital buildings were added and by July 1913, the quarantine camp became the Government Infectious Diseases Hospital which in turn changed its name to the Middleton Hospital in November 1920. Diseases that were prevalent at that time include chicken pox, cholera, typhoid fever, and plague. The Hospital admitted its first AIDS patient in the 1985.
In 1985, the Middleton Hospital was absorbed into the Tan Tock Seng Hospital and renamed the Department of Communicable Diseases (DCD). In 1992, the Tan Tock Seng Hospital was restructured. The Tuberculosis Control and Epidemiology sections merged with the Department of Communicable Diseases to form the Communicable Disease Centre (CDC). The restructuring was followed by a major upgrade of the CDC's physical infrastructure and facilities. The administration however remained under the Ministry of Health until 1 April 1995, when the CDC came under the direct administration of the Tan Tock Seng Hospital. With the change, the CDC became the national centre for the management of communicable and infectious diseases. In addition, the CDC also acts as regional referral centre for communicable and infectious diseases.
Description and facilities
The CDC is made up of a series of single storey blocks or pavilions housed in a spacious park-like setting. It was designed by D. M.Craik, then the Architectural Assistant to the Municipal Council of Singapore. The facade is simple, unpretentious and each block is designated as a ward. Each ward opens into wide verandas on all its sides via large shutters. Ventilated louvers in high-pitched roofs with ceiling fans ensure good ventilation. Tall angsanas dominate its landscape. The centre also houses a mortuary. Additions and alterations were made to the building by the Public Works Department in 1984 and 1985.
The CDC receives referrals from Singapore and overseas hospitals, government polyclinics, general practitioners and private specialists. It is home to three referral centres; Referral Centre for Communicable Disease and HIV Infection; Referral Centre for Stool screening of Food Handlers; and Referral Centre for Contacts of Outbreak of Infectious Diseases. It is also a Liaison Centre to Ministry of Education for candidates with Infectious Diseases.
The CDC and its staff made news from March to May 2003 with their brave fight against SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome). A new SARS wing, called CDC 2, with 64 isolation rooms, 18 ICU rooms and an operating theatre, was opened on 16 August 2003 next to the new Tan Tock Seng Hospital building. This was designed from a block which was previously home to the Ren Ci Community Hospital. The Ministry of Health spent nearly $30 million to prepare the new wing for new SARS outbreak. The CDC at Moulmein Road, known as CDC 1, also underwent renovation and rebuilding to add isolation rooms and upgrade its facilities. The works were completed in May 2003.
Communicable Disease Centre
Naidu Ratnala Thulaja
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The information in this article is valid as at 2003 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.
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