Middle East

Saudi teenage singer sings about conflict and trauma

JEDDAH: Health authorities in Europe and the Americas have sounded alarm over the outbreak of monkeypox, with many declaring the outbreak a public health emergency.

In contrast, Saudi Arabia, which had only three confirmed cases, had a more muted response.

Saudi experts say there are several reasons for the restrained Saudi approach. For example, the existence of well-established surveillance, detection, and preventive measures resulting from responses to previous infectious disease outbreaks, and the very low infection rates seen in the region.

“Especially in the Gulf region and Saudi Arabia, to document the increase in cases and implement rigorous methods to detect them to ensure that appropriate preventive and treatment measures are taken to prevent the spread of monkeypox. We know that a lot of effort has been put into not only treating it immediately from a medical point of view,” Dr. Nawaf Al-Bali, a Saudi doctor, told Arab News.

“Countries should implement appropriate surveillance and surveillance standards at their borders, strengthen screening, and improve diagnostic capacity both within and outside their borders.”

Monkeypox, once a relatively rare disease, has occurred in a few countries in Central and West Africa since the 1970s, with occasional outbreaks of less than 100 cases over the past 40 years.

People with this disease tend to develop rashes on or near the genitals or anus, and on other areas such as the hands, feet, chest, face or mouth.

A rash goes through several stages, including crusting, before it heals. It looks like a pimple or blister at first and can be painful and itchy.

Other symptoms include fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, fatigue, muscle aches, back pain, headache, sore throat, nasal congestion, and cough.

These symptoms usually begin within 3 weeks after exposure to monkeypox virus and usually last 2 to 4 weeks.

Authorities have detected dozens of cases in Europe, North America and beyond since May, bringing the number to over 28,000 worldwide.

Symptoms of self-limiting disease usually last 2 to 4 weeks. (Shutterstock)

The World Health Organization declared monkeypox a global health emergency on July 23rd. To date, at least 75 monkeypox deaths are suspected in Africa, primarily Nigeria and Congo.

On 29 July, monkeypox-related deaths were reported in both Brazil and Spain. This is the first reported case outside of Africa. Spain reported her second death the next day, and India reported her first death on August 1.

Saudi Arabia has detected only three cases of monkeypox among passengers returning from Europe.

Geographically, there are 16 confirmed cases in the United Arab Emirates and 2 cases in Qatar.

Monkeypox is transmitted when humans come into contact with the homonymous virus from animals, humans, or contaminated materials.

It is often spread through skin-to-skin contact and is often, but not always, transmitted through physical contact between men.

“The way it spreads is either through skin-to-skin contact, or contact with certain bodily fluids, such as sweat, or exposure to sensitive parts of the body, such as the genitals or pubic area,” Albari said.

“This kind of contact and this kind of intimate contact are much less common[in the Gulf countries]. That doesn’t mean they don’t exist, but they’re less common.”

Health authorities in Europe and the Americas have warned of a monkeypox epidemic. (AFP)

Abdulaziz Al-Angari, assistant professor at King Saud bin Abdulaziz University of Health Sciences in Riyadh, said the WHO has declared monkeypox a public health emergency of international concern, but it has yet to become a pandemic. said no.

“Given how the virus spreads, the rate of transmission is slow and limited,” he told Arab News.

A sufficient number of cases must be considered to calculate the odds ratio, a statistic that quantifies the strength of the association between two events. So far, there have been too few cases in Saudi Arabia to draw any conclusions.

“We need more detailed information (demographic data, history, practices, travel information, etc.) about the incident, such as research investigations,” Al-Angari said.

Saudi Arabia and several other countries are collecting such real-time data and taking necessary measures to prevent its spread. This is a lesson learned from previous virus outbreaks.

In 2012, the first case of Middle East respiratory syndrome caused by the MERS coronavirus was confirmed in Saudi Arabia.

Studies have shown that humans become infected through direct or indirect contact with infected dromedary camels, but the exact route of transmission remains unknown.

This experience prompted the Kingdom to develop a detection and containment strategy and infrastructure, which was put into action in 2020 when COVID-19 emerged.

Registered pharmacist Sapna Patel demonstrates monkeypox vaccine dose preparation at a pop-up vaccination clinic. (AFP)

The Ministry of Health set up a command and control center and accelerated the establishment of the Saudi Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Our experience with MERS-CoV has been distressing and unique in our region. Between 2013 and 2015, health authorities implemented measures to prevent disease, lockdowns, market closures, and We understand the importance of the specific commercial activities involved,” said Albali.

“So we understand the effectiveness of early intervention when it comes to disease control. We have developed that capacity and sense of urgency around our global health system.”

Al-Angari reiterated the importance of early detection and documentation of cases.

“This makes contact tracing essential to prevent future introduction of the virus into new populations.

“It may not be necessary now, but using a system such as the Tawakkalna app may be considered at some point.”

The Saudi Department of Data and Artificial Intelligence developed Tawakkalna to support the government’s efforts to combat COVID-19 by managing the process of granting permission to leave home during the lockdown phase. This helped limit the spread of the virus.

In June, the app won the 2022 United Nations Public Service Award for the organization’s resilience and innovative response to the pandemic.

Saudi Arabia understands the effectiveness of early intervention when it comes to disease control, according to Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Angari, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at KSAU-HS. (attached)

With travel demand soaring after COVID-19 restrictions were eased, Al-Angari stressed the importance of monitoring points of entry.

“The (monkeypox) virus is transmitted from person to person, so we have to take all necessary measures,” he said.

“For this disease, but for all future diseases, the operation of thermal cameras will always be necessary, and random medical examinations of people who are in contact with animals on a regular basis will prevent zoonotic diseases. important for

As in the early days of COVID-19, thermal imaging cameras installed in airport arrival halls have been instrumental in the syndromic surveillance process – the process of collecting, analyzing and interpreting health-related data to provide early warning of health threats. an integral part.

“If the cameras detect one of the symptoms of the illness (such as a rise in body temperature), the case must be quarantined at the airport, and other individuals who may have been exposed to the case must be quarantined as part of Saudi Arabia’s precautionary measures. must be tested as well,” says Albali.

“Thus a case was detected and an investigation was subsequently initiated, but no other cases have been detected so far.”

Beyond monitoring, health officials should provide adequate information and guidelines to travelers heading to countries considered monkeypox hotspots, Albali said.

“The main lesson learned from the COVID-19 pandemic is increased community awareness about the virus and how to protect ourselves,” he said.

“The same rules of thumb apply to this current outbreak, which is largely unnoticed on Saudi Arabian shores, but transparent communication strategies by health officials will continue to raise awareness levels and further protect communities. from future fashions.”

The United States, United Kingdom, Denmark, Spain, Germany, France, Canada, and others have begun the introduction of monkeypox vaccine.

However, it is unlikely to be distributed in Saudi Arabia unless there is a need to protect the most vulnerable, such as children, the elderly and the immunocompromised.

“A vaccine is doable,” Al-Angari said. “But I don’t think it’s going to happen any time soon because it’s not a current threat, at least in this region.”

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2137516/saudi-arabia Saudi teenage singer sings about conflict and trauma

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