Department of Infectious Diseases ONMedU is 100 years old!

The origin of infectious diseases has its roots in ancient times. Archaeological, paleontological, historical findings indicate that mankind suffered from infections at the dawn of civilization. The first mention of the infectivity of some diseases and their relationship with microscopic organisms dates back to the XVI century, but the concept of “infectology”, “contagious diseases” entered the medical science only in the XIX century. Infectious diseases are being studied at the medical faculties of the oldest universities in Europe and the Russian Empire. The first department of infectious diseases in the Soviet Union was founded on July 14, 1921 at the Odessa Medical Institute by Vyacheslav Karlovich Stefanskii, who headed it for 28 years.

One of the oldest buildings in the city – Odessa Infectious Diseases Hospital – became a place of work and discoveries of prominent doctors and scientists of the time – N.I. Pirogov, N. Sklifosovskii, G.M. Minha, O.O. Mochutkovskii, NF Gamaliah, D.K. Zabolotny, L.K. Korovytskii. The hospital was built near the northern entrance to the city, making it one of the city’s first quarantine facilities. Professor Stefanskii created a school of infectious disease doctors, who under the guidance of their teacher fought, studied, treated, prevented diseases such as diphtheria, measles, whooping cough, scarlet fever, plague, cholera, typhoid fever, malaria, amebiasis, dysentery, meningitis , flu, etc.

Leonid Konstantinovych Korovitskii became a great successor of V.K .Stefansky’s affairs and teachings. From 1949 he headed the Department of Infectious Diseases for 19 years. An outstanding bright scientist, a first-class clinician, he demanded from his students not only knowledge of infectious diseases, but also in the field of parasitology, internal medicine. During the period of widespread malaria in the southern regions of Ukraine on the initiative of L.K. Korovytskii anti-malarial stations were established, and systematic training of medical and support staff in the skills of detecting and treating malaria patients was initiated. The polio outbreak at that time united the staff of the department and the doctors of the hospital in the fight against this serious disease. The clinic was also actively involved in the rehabilitation of patients who had suffered from polio. Under the leadership of Professor L.K. Korovytskii, employees of the department participated in the elimination of outbreaks of diseases such as typhoid fever, typhus, plague, typhoid fever, malaria, diphtheria.

Vasyl Pylypovych Lipkovsky became the successor of Professor Korovytskii as the head of the Department of Infectious Diseases. A graduate of the Odessa Medical Institute, Vasyl Pylypovych worked as an infectious disease specialist in various cities of Ukraine and African countries. From 1962 to 1968 he headed the Department of Infectious Diseases of the Chernivtsi Medical Institute, and from 1968 he headed the department at  Odessa Medical Institute.

The study of pathogenesis and pathogenetic therapy of infectious diseases has become the main direction of research work of the department. In 1970, an outbreak of cholera broke out in Odessa. Employees of the department together with doctors of the infectious disease hospital provided emergency care to patients around the clock. It was during this outbreak that modern methods of therapy were introduced by the department staff to treat patients, which significantly reduced mortality. The experience gained during the cholera outbreak allowed the teachers of the department to participate in the organization of anti-epidemic and curative measures in all outbreaks of cholera in the south of Ukraine (Odessa, Mykolaiv, Kherson regions, Crimea).

Professor Yevhen Nikitin headed the Department of Infectious Diseases in 1990. He paid special attention to the study of the mechanism of cytolysis of hepatocytes in patients with viral hepatitis, the development of new methods of pathogenetic and etiotropic treatment of viral hepatitis.

During the outbreak of tularemia, which was registered in 1990 in the Tatarbunary district of Odessa region, the staff of the department provided counseling and treatment to patients. And in 1992 in Odessa the first cases of diphtheria were diagnosed. The complexity of clinical diagnosis was due to the long period of absence of such patients in Ukraine. Thanks to the joint work of the department staff and doctors of practical health care, this outbreak was eliminated.

Doc. of med. science, Professor K.L. Servetskii headed the Department of Infectious Diseases from 2002 to 2015. As a pupil of the scientific school of Professor L.K. Korovytskii, K.L. Servetskii created one of the serious schools of infectious diseases in Ukraine. He sought to enrich medicine with new approaches, new concepts, new views. The main direction of scientific activity: pathogenesis, clinical features, methods of treatment of viral diseases. Professor K.L. Servetskii was a member of the editorial boards of many medical journals, a member of the presidium of the Association of Infectious Diseases of Ukraine.

Today the department is headed by Doctor of Medical Sciences, Professor Tetyana Volodymyrivna Chaban – a student and successor of Professor E.V. Nikitin and Professor K.L. Servetskii. The scientific direction of the department still remains the disclosure of the pathogenesis and improvement of therapy of viral infections, including chronic viral hepatitis, the use of drugs with antiviral and antioxidant mechanisms of action.

The bases of the department are: municipal institution “City Clinical Infectious Diseases Hospital”,Clinic of Infectious Diseases of the Military Medical Clinical Center of the Southern Region, Center for HIV / AIDS Prevention and Control. Students of the V and VI years of medical and international faculties (including those taught in English) and IV year of dental faculty are trained at the department. Also at the Department of Infectious Diseases interns of the infectious diseases department and interns of related departments are trained. Pre-certification cycles, internships, cycles of thematic improvement are conducted at the department – “The most important helminthiasis and parasitic human diseases”, “HIV / AIDS”. Pre-test and post-test counseling for HIV infection “,” Viral hepatitis “,” Outpatient care for infectious patients “.

Employees of the department, in addition to pedagogical, scientific and medical work in the infectious diseases hospital, provide qualified counseling in medical institutions of Odessa, Odessa region and other regions of southern Ukraine.

Infectious diseases are firmly entrenched in our lives and regularly challenge human civilization. We are now faced with the largest pandemic of coronavirus infection, COVID-19, in human history. Infectious disease doctors, employees of the Department of Infectious Diseases – at the forefront of the fight against SARS CoV-2, make heroic efforts to save each patient. Senior colleagues pass on to the younger generation of doctors the skills of working in an epidemic and invaluable clinical experience, which creates the foundation for a stable future and maintains the traditions of the famous institution!