Saudi Arabia reports first monkeypox case

Infected person who returned to Riyadh from overseas is in isolation after positive test

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The monkeypox virus has been detected for the first time in Saudi Arabia.

The Ministry of Health reported the case on Thursday after tests were carried out on a person who returned to Riyadh from abroad.

People who came into contact with the confirmed case have been informed as a precaution and the infected person is in isolation.

No other person has shown any symptoms of the virus.

The monkeypox outbreak has so far spread to about 50 countries but it is not yet considered a global emergency by the World Health Organisation.

In June, Lebanon recorded its first case of the virus, also in a patient who had recently returned from overseas, while 13 cases have been reported in the UAE.

Symptoms

Symptoms include fever, body aches, chills and fatigue. People with more serious illness may develop a rash and lesions on the face and hands. The lesions can spread to other parts of the body.

In general, recovery takes about two to four weeks without the need to be admitted to hospital. However, monkeypox can be fatal in up to 6 per cent of cases and is believed to be more severe in children.

Smallpox vaccines are effective against monkeypox and antiviral drugs are also being developed.

Antiviral drugs such as tecovirimat are also proven to be effective against monkeypox and were approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2018.

A WHO emergency committee met last month to discuss the outbreak and raised concerns that the virus was now being reported in many countries for the first time.

The virus has circulated in Africa for decades, but few significant outbreaks have been recorded and none in multiple countries simultaneously as is the case now.

Updated: July 15, 2022, 5:51 AM
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