What to know about monkeypox in the UAE, from signs and symptoms to treatment and quarantine/isolation rules
25 July 2022| Last updated on 25 July 2022
While the rare monkeypox virus has a low number of reported cases worldwide, the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHaP) advices residents to practice safe personal hygiene to protect against possible infection.
The ministry recorded three new cases of monkeypox, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 16.
To keep help safe from the virus, here are some key facts you need to know about monkeypox, what are the signs and symptoms, its risks, and what to do if you are infected with monkeypox in the UAE.
What is Monkeypox?
Monkeybox is a viral zoonosis disease (a virus that is transmitted to humans from animals) and is similar to smallpox, but the symptoms are clinically milder and less life-threatening, said the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Monkeypox in humans is not new, with the first human case detected in the 1970s in Central Africa. The virus is usually spread in Central and West Africa, but international cases have been popping up this year.
How is monkeypox transmitted?
According to WHO, you can catch monkeypox after close contact with an infected individual or animal, or contact with material that is contaminated with the virus.
In this case, close contact involves contact with body fluids, lesions, respiratory droplets, or contaminated materials such as bedding.
Symptoms of Monkeypox
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), monkeypox symptoms are similar to smallpox, but less contagious, less severe, and rarely fatal. Monkeypox is not related to chickenpox.
Signs of monkeypox to watch out for:
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Sores and lesions on the skin
Other symptoms of monkeypox include fatigue, muscle aches, headache, and sore throat. The CDC said that monkeypox will typically result in a fever, rash, and swollen lymph nodes that can lead to other medical complications.
UAE residents are urged to consult with a doctor if symptoms begin to appear.
How long do monkeypox symptoms last?
Symptoms of monkeypox can typically appear anywhere between six to 13 days, and the disease can last for two to four weeks, according to WHO. Symptoms can take as long as three weeks to appear after exposure.
While rare, severe cases of monkeypox can occur, but the fatality ratio is around 3-6%, stated WHO.
What to do if I get Monkeypox in the UAE?
If you are confirmed for monkeypox, you have to receive treatment while isolating at a hospital until you recover.
Anyone who has been in close contact with a monkeypox patient must quarantine at home for 21 days, with monitoring from UAE health officials.
The Ministry of Health requests residents to maintain personal hygiene and to avoid close contact with anyone who may have skin rashes.