United Arab Emirates Confirms First Case of Monkeypox

The smallpox-related virus was detected in a young woman who returned to the UAE from West Africa

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Test tube labelled "Monkeypox virus positive."
Test tube labelled "Monkeypox virus positive" is seen in this illustration taken Monday.Credit: DADO RUVIC/Reuters

Health authorities in the United Arab Emirates detected on Tuesday the country’s first case of the monkeypox virus in a young woman who traveled from West Africa.

The government said little about the patient, but stressed that authorities were investigating her contacts and “taking all necessary measures" to limit the spread of monkeypox.

The statement did not say where the case had been discovered in the federation of seven sheikhdoms, which includes the capital of Abu Dhabi and tourist hub of Dubai.

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, authorities in the autocratic country similarly had declined to offer a geographic breakdown for COVID-19 cases.

The diagnosis in the UAE marks the first reported case on the Arabian Peninsula. Israel recorded the first reported case in the Middle East earlier this week. The World Health Organization has identified over 100 cases globally.

Cases of the smallpox-related disease have previously been seen only among people with links to central and West Africa. But Britain, Spain, Portugal, Italy, the U.S., Sweden and Canada all reported infections, mostly in young men who hadn’t previously traveled to Africa. France, Germany, Belgium and Australia have also identified cases.

The virus originates in primates and other wild animals and causes fever, body aches, chills and fatigue in most patients. People with severe cases can develop a rash and lesions on the face, hands and other parts of the body.

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