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Dubai to ‘enhance surveillance’ over globally rising monkeypox cases: DHA circular

Published: Updated:

Dubai hospitals have been issued a guideline to “enhance surveillance” on monkeypox cases as the disease continues to be reported across the world, according to a circular from the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) published Friday.

The DHA issued a city-wide circular to hospitals under its umbrella to test for and report any possible monkeypox cases found.

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The circular was sent as part of the authority’s “commitment to control and reduce the spread of communicable diseases,” it said.

“Health facilities under the DHA jurisdiction are expected to be fully compliance [sic] with the provisions contained with the provisions contained therein to avoid any legal accountability,” the circular said.

In addition to the main circular providing guidance to hospitals under DHA, an additional attachment provided guidance from the WHO “based on the limited information available at this stage.”

It recommended all health care workers to follow three measures [sic]:

  1. Enhanced the surveillance by performing the required confirmatory RT-PCR test and gene sequencing to trace the infection source.
  2. Immediate reporting of the lab confirmed cases to the preventive medicine section - DHA
  3. Strictly isolate cases in health care Facilities and follow all household contacts and other close partners to timely detect secondary cases and prevent further spread

The Abu Dhabi Department of Health also said it was stepping up safety measures to guard against the potential spread of the virus.

It urged medical facilities to remain vigilant over the virus in a public notice issued on social media.

Symptoms and transmission

Symptoms of the disease include fever, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion and a chickenpox-like rash on the hands and face.

It can be transmitted through contact with skin lesions and droplets of a contaminated person, as well as shared items such as bedding and towels, AFP reported.

Australian health authorities on Friday also confirmed a case of monkeypox that has been detected in Victoria state with another suspected case in New South Wales, an AFP report said.

Victoria state Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said a traveler in his 30s flew from London to Melbourne via Abu Dhabi earlier this week, in the same report. Sutton said contact tracing was underway for passengers who were sitting close to the man on the flights.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said it had “detected 11 new cases of monkeypox in England,” up from a total of nine, according to another AFP report.

“Most cases are mild and I can confirm we have procured further doses of vaccines that are effective against monkeypox,” Health Secretary Sajid Javid tweeted.

The UKHSA’s chief medical adviser, Susan Hopkins, said that she expected “this increase to continue in the coming days and for more cases to be identified in the wider community.”

She particularly urged gay and bisexual men to look out for symptoms, saying a “notable proportion” of cases in UK and Europe came from this group, AFP reported.

The UKHSA said monkeypox had not previously been described as a sexually transmitted infection.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said it was also investigating the fact that many cases reported were people identifying as gay, bisexual or men who have sex with men, according to the same AFP report.

Cases of monkeypox have also been detected in Italy, Portugal, Spain and Sweden as well as in the United States and Canada, leading to fears that the disease - normally concentrated in Central and West Africa - may be spreading.

Monkeypox usually clears up after two to four weeks, according to the WHO.

Read more: Explainer: What is monkeypox and where is it spreading?

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