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Updated 8 August 2022
The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently declared the spread of Monkeypox a ‘global health emergency’ amid the rising infection rates worldwide. The UAE reported its first case of Monkeypox in May 2022. Below, we have gathered all the information that you need about the Monkeypox virus in the UAE. Read further to find out.
What is Monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a viral zoonotic disease that occurs primarily in tropical rainforest areas of Central and West Africa and is occasionally exported to other regions.
Monkeypox is transmitted from one person to another by close contact with lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets and contaminated materials such as clothing, bedding, or other items used in healthcare settings.
In most cases, people typically recover within two to four weeks without needing to be hospitalized. In some cases, however, monkeypox can also be fatal in up to 6 per cent of cases and could also be more severe in children.
Monkeypox virus cases in the UAE
UAE has so far confirmed a total number of 16 Monkeypox infections in the country and 2 recoveries from the virus. The first case of Monkeypox was recorded from a 29-years-old woman who arrived from West Africa on May 24th 2022. However, it is been reported that the risk of getting infected or the risk of an outbreak is minimal as transmission requires close contact with the infected person or the person’s contaminated object, according to the DHA.
As per the guidelines issued by Dubai Health Authority (DHA), an individual with clinical symptoms of the virus confirmed by a laboratory test will be classified as a ‘confirmed case’.
Awareness guide for #Monkeypox https://t.co/tcHpKFpZzs pic.twitter.com/eRteZjhAbk
— هيئة الصحة بدبي (@DHA_Dubai) June 9, 2022
Infected individuals who have a fever higher than 38.5 degrees, have a rash that covers more than 30 per cent of the body surface area, or have unstable vital signs are required to isolate in a hospital. Pregnant women, children below 6 years, elderly patients who are above 70 years and critically ill patients showing monkeypox symptoms must also isolate in a hospital until they recover.
PCR throat swabs and dry swab tests have been approved to detect the Monkeypox virus. Individuals with confirmed cases will need to adhere to the isolation guidelines issued by the DHA as follows:
- The patient must self-isolate until they receive their positive PCR test results.
- Positive cases will be contacted and briefed by the DHA on how to complete the isolation procedures.
- If the symptoms worsen, the patient will be advised to admit themselves to the nearest medical centre or hospital.
- Patients are required to self-isolate either at home or in the institutional isolation facility for 21 days.
Those who have been in contact with infected patients must confine themselves in a single room for a period of 21 days. If they show symptoms of the disease, they must visit the nearest medical centre or hospital and get themselves tested.
Monkeypox and UAE travel restrictions
Currently, UAE has not established any travel restrictions to prevent the spread of Monkeypox. However, confirmed cases will need to completely isolate in hospitals until they recover and close contact with such persons will need to quarantine at home for 21 days, with monitoring from UAE officials.
The Department of Health in Abu Dhabi and Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre (ADPHC) has instructed all healthcare facilities to report suspected cases according to the system, and take the necessary precautionary and medical measures to detect any infection cases.
The UAE government has also warned residents to stay updated with the Monkeypox cases via legitimate and trusted sources only to avoid any misleading news and rumours.
What are the symptoms of Monkeypox?
Monkeypox has an incubation period of seven to 14 days. The initial symptoms of monkeypox are similar to influenza with fever, chills, exhaustion, headache, muscle weakness and swelling in lymph nodes.
The widespread of rashes all over the infected bodies include the inside of the mouth, palms of the hands, and feet. Moreover, it has been reported that the rashes are mostly in the genital area for the early stages of the illness.
The most distinguished ways of transmission of the Monkeypox infection from one person to another are typically through contact with body fluids and respiratory droplets, contact with skin lesions of an infected person and contact with contaminated surfaces.
While the UAE is yet to authorise the administration of the monkeypox vaccine in the country, the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) has repeatedly advised people to follow all the safety guidelines and take preventative measures in order to protect themselves from the zoonotic virus, which has been rapidly spreading across the world.
Here are the things that you can do to prevent the spread of Monkeypox:
- Keep your hands clean by washing them for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitisers
- Prevent animal-to-human transmission
- Avoid any contact with wild animals
- Cook meat properly
- Avoid any objects that have been in contact with a sick animal
- Prevent human-to-human transmission
- Avoid contact with any person who has a rash
- Avoid contact with any object that has been in contact with a sick person