2016 Top Doctor: Ngozi Osondu, M.D.

Written by Editorial Staff Category: Profiles Issue: April 2016
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Infectious Disease
Med School/Year Graduated: University of Nigeria, 1996

Years in Practice: 13

photography by Steve Craft; Ngozi Osondu, M.D.What was it like transitioning from medical school in Nigeria to practicing medicine in the U.S.?
The main difference I noted was in the types of diseases that were prevalent here, as well as the fact that I had more resources available to me for diagnosis and treatment.

Why did you choose to specialize in infectious disease?
Infectious diseases, I believe, is a dynamic field in medicine that cuts through all aspects of medicine, which allowed me to stay abreast with all areas of practice.

What are the most common diseases you treat? What are the most rare ones you’ve encountered?
The most common diseases I treat include minor skin infections, ranging from cellulitis to necrotizing fasciitis, and complex skin infections associated with diabetes. In addition, diseases like pneumonia, coccidioidomycosis [Valley fever] in our area specifically, and HIV remain very common. The most rare diseases I have encountered in practice have been Q fever, Kawasaki disease, granulomatous mastitis – to name a few.

How worried should Arizonans be about the Zika virus?
At this time, I do not believe Arizonans should be worried about Zika virus, as long there is no intent to travel. We have had imported diseases through the years, but Zika does not appear to be spread from person to person except sexually. The usual precautions, such as wearing long protective clothing and the application of insect repellents, remain the mainstays of protection, even in endemic areas.

What infectious diseases should Arizonans be aware of when they travel to Mexico? Or California, for that matter?
Most diseases of concern remain foodborne, such as hepatitis A, traveler’s diarrhea, etc. However,  dengue, Zika and even coccidioidomycosis can be contracted in Mexico.

What do you like to do in your free time?
I usually like to take time to relax with my family since most of my time is spent in a frenzy, if you  will. I also like to travel worldwide and experience different cultures. I also enjoy volunteering in various charitable and health activities throughout the city and overseas.

“If I wasn’t a doctor, I’d be...”
A doctor! It is strange that I have thought about this through the years and I have always arrived at the same answer. I believe it is where I find the best possible way to relate with my fellow human beings and help them the best way I possibly can.