The UAE has implemented a robust epidemiological surveillance system to rapidly detect all communicable diseases and viruses, including monkeypox.
The country’s Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHaP) announced three new cases of the zoonotic disease on May 29. It had detected its first monkeypox case on May 24 in a 29-year-old visitor from West Africa.
The ministry had on Sunday detailed the isolation and quarantine procedures for infected individuals and their close contacts. Citing a unified national medical guide, the authority said positive cases would be isolated in hospitals until they recover. Their close contacts would be required to quarantine at home for “no less than 21 days”.
The ministry said it would ensure that the close contacts are complying with the home isolation and monitor their health condition.
How is monkeypox detected?
According to the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), symptoms of the disease include fever, exhaustion, lymphadenopathy, back and muscle aches, intense headaches and skin rash, which usually begins after one to three days of fever.
Dr Shivani Anubhav Chaturvedi, clinical pathologist and lab director, Aster Diagnostic Centre, Sharjah, told Khaleej Times that samples are collected from skin lesions; fluid from vesicles and pustules; and dry crusts, which are sent for a PCR test. “Two or more swabs should be collected for the highest diagnostic yield,” she said.
The MoHAP said monkeypox is a viral disease that’s mostly transmitted to humans through close contact with an infected person or animal. These include bodily fluids, and respiratory droplets, or with material contaminated with the virus. “It can also be passed to the baby in the womb,” the ministry said.
The DHA had listed out the following prevention methods:
• 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
According to the DHA, monkeypox is usually a self-limited disease with the symptoms lasting from two to four weeks. Symptomatic supportive care is to be considered.
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