Precautionary measures to protect UAE against Zika virus under way
DUBAI // The Ministry of Health has begun precautionary measures to stop the Zika virus spreading to this country.
The ministry’s Ad-hoc Committee for Epidemics met on Sunday to discuss the epidemic, which is spread by mosquitos and is thought to be linked to thousands of babies in South America being born with brain deformalities.
The committee agreed to monitor possible cases, raise awareness of the disease and fumigate areas where mosquitos breed, reported Al Ittihad, the Arabic language sister newspaper of The National.
Dr Hussein Al Rand, head of the committee, recommended that the Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoom Zaabeel Central Laboratory be accredited as the main centre for tests should any infection be suspected.
The results would be issued within 24 hours, while samples of other cases could be sent abroad for testing if needed, he said.
“We await the recommendations of the extraordinary meeting the World Health Organisation is to hold on Monday in order to implement them in the UAE,” he said.
The ministry has also taken measures to equip a laboratory at Al Qassimi Hospital in Sharjah to perform analyses of any suspected Zika virus infections.
Dr Al Rand said no Zika cases had been reported in this country as yet but called for organisations to work to make sure the UAE remained virus-free.
He said the committee would continue to regularly meet to keep up to date with the latest international developments.
Updated: February 1, 2016 04:00 AM