Dubai residents who contract monkeypox must quarantine for 21 days, health officials have said, amid a global outbreak of the potentially fatal disease.
A circular from the Dubai Health Authority, seen by Al Arabiya English, states that adult patients with minor symptoms and stable vital signs can isolate at home.
Patients who have a fever higher than 38.5 degrees, have a rash that covers more than 30 percent of the body surface area, have unstable vital signs must isolate in hospital, as should pregnant women, children below the age of six, elderly patients aged over 70 and critically ill patients. Patients will undergo complete isolation in hospitals until they recover.
Earlier this month, the UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) announced five new cases of monkeypox in the country.
It also said that two people recovered from the disease that the World Health Organization (WHO) called “self-limited with symptoms lasting from two to four weeks.”
The first in-country case was detected on May 24 when a traveler from a west African country was found to be carrying the disease.
The ministry has warned members of the public to take precautions against the disease during travel and social gatherings.
Transmission and symptoms
Monkeypox can spread through transmission of bodily fluids or sores on an infected person, or through materials they have touched such as clothing or bed linen, according to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
It can also be passed from mothers to babies in the womb.
Their health will be closely monitored during the period of isolation.
Symptoms include headaches, fever, muscle aches, exhaustion, and distinctive sores on the skin.
Most people who catch the disease usually recover in a few weeks, but it does have a mortality rate of around 10 percent.
Dr. Neema Madhusoodanan Nambiar, GP at Bareen International Hospital – MBZ City, said the monkeypox infection can be transmitted by the affected person from animals to humans via contact with infected body fluids, bites or scratches.
“Monkeypox can also be transmitted directly by an infected person through direct contact with skin lesions, body fluids, and respiratory droplets,” the doctor said.
“Infected individuals can be contagious from 1 day before the onset of the rash to 21 days after the first symptoms, or until all skin lesions become scabs and the other symptoms disappear,” Namibian continued.
“Educating the general public about monkeypox to raise awareness of risk factors and reduce exposure to the virus is the most important part of prevention strategy.”
Health experts in the UAE told Al Arabiya English that smallpox vaccines may protect against monkeypox by up to 85 percent.
Monkeypox was first identified in humans in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1970, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The World Health Organization said on Tuesday it would hold an emergency meeting next week to determine whether to classify the global monkeypox outbreak as a public health emergency of international concern.
“The outbreak of monkeypox is unusual and concerning,” World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told journalists.
“For that reason, I have decided to convene the Emergency Committee under the international health regulations next week, to assess whether this outbreak represents a public health emergency of international concern.”
The emergency committee will meet on June 23 to discuss the designation, which is the highest alarm the UN agency can sound.
“WHO is also working with partners and experts from around the world on changing the name of monkeypox virus... and the disease it causes,” Tedros said.
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