marin_hospital_08.jpg
Dubai health experts are seeking to raise awareness about the dangers of the highly contagious norovirus.

Experts warn over highly contagious norovirus



DUBAI// Health experts are seeking to raise awareness about noroviruses, a set of highly infectious microorganisms that has closed parts of hospitals in the US and UK in recent months.

The hard-to-kill virus causes 23 million cases of stomach flu each year in the US.

It is the most common cause of stomach illnesses globally, according to Dr Lee-Ann Jaykus, the president of the US-based International Association for Food Protection.

_______________

Also:

Diner died after eating seafood and duck liver
Two children die of suspected food poisoning after eating takeaway

_______________

In the UAE, however, there is no comprehensive data on the virus, which spreads from person to person through contaminated food or water. UAE doctors say that while food-borne illnesses are common, most of the cases they treat are caused by bacteria or parasites.

Noroviruses have no treatment, and last only around two to three days. However, they are far more contagious than other microorganisms.

"Even one single [noro]virus can cause a problem," said Dr Talal Farha, a specialist paediatrician at Dubai's City Hospital. "Every other virus needs a lot more."

In healthy people, the virus is relatively harmless. But if young people, elderly people or those with diabetes, heart disease or kidney problems contract the virus, it can be very problematic, said Richard Stangier, a consultant on internal medicine for the German Medical Center in Abu Dhabi.

Also, in densely populated places, such as schools and hospitals, the highly infectious virus poses serious health risk.

"If it hits one person all of a sudden, all the staff and patients become ill as well," said Dr Farha.

Typically, once the virus is identified, the hospital will close off the ward where it has been found.

The virus can be spread from eating contaminated food or liquids. Touching surfaces or objects that are contaminated, or having direct contact with someone who has been exposed, can lead to infection.

Additionally, because secretions contain a high viral count, the virus can become airborne if a person vomits.

"If a person is near to where it occurred, they can get infected without touching it after the virus gets into airways," Dr Farha said.

Food items that are handled manually, such as berries or green onions, also tend to have higher contamination rates, as do ready-to-eat supermarket and deli foods that are not heated before eating.

"Sandwiches, salads and deli goods are probably responsible for the vast majority of foodbourne norovirus outbeaks," said Dr Jaykus.

According to the acting head of the food studies and survey department of the Dubai Municipality, the culture of food handlers who work while ill needs to change.

"We wish to increase the attitudes, because giving leave for employees with the flu is not common," Asia Al Raeesi said last month at the Dubai International Food Safety Conference.

The UAE has witnessed a series of high-profile food poisoning cases in recent months. A recent Abu Dhabi court ruling cleared workers at the Al Fanar restaurant in Abu Dhabi's Le Royal Meridian Hotel in the death of a manwho became ill after eating there on May 7 last year. In Dubai, two food workers were fined last month over the deaths of two children from food poisoning.

mdetrie@thenational.ae

Three ways to limit your social media use

Clinical psychologist, Dr Saliha Afridi at The Lighthouse Arabia suggests three easy things you can do every day to cut back on the time you spend online.

1. Put the social media app in a folder on the second or third screen of your phone so it has to remain a conscious decision to open, rather than something your fingers gravitate towards without consideration.

2. Schedule a time to use social media instead of consistently throughout the day. I recommend setting aside certain times of the day or week when you upload pictures or share information. 

3. Take a mental snapshot rather than a photo on your phone. Instead of sharing it with your social world, try to absorb the moment, connect with your feeling, experience the moment with all five of your senses. You will have a memory of that moment more vividly and for far longer than if you take a picture of it.

Know your cyber adversaries

Cryptojacking: Compromises a device or network to mine cryptocurrencies without an organisation's knowledge.

Distributed denial-of-service: Floods systems, servers or networks with information, effectively blocking them.

Man-in-the-middle attack: Intercepts two-way communication to obtain information, spy on participants or alter the outcome.

Malware: Installs itself in a network when a user clicks on a compromised link or email attachment.

Phishing: Aims to secure personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers.

Ransomware: Encrypts user data, denying access and demands a payment to decrypt it.

Spyware: Collects information without the user's knowledge, which is then passed on to bad actors.

Trojans: Create a backdoor into systems, which becomes a point of entry for an attack.

Viruses: Infect applications in a system and replicate themselves as they go, just like their biological counterparts.

Worms: Send copies of themselves to other users or contacts. They don't attack the system, but they overload it.

Zero-day exploit: Exploits a vulnerability in software before a fix is found.

The Specs

Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cylinder petrol
Power: 118hp
Torque: 149Nm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Price: From Dh61,500
On sale: Now

Why it pays to compare

A comparison of sending Dh20,000 from the UAE using two different routes at the same time - the first direct from a UAE bank to a bank in Germany, and the second from the same UAE bank via an online platform to Germany - found key differences in cost and speed. The transfers were both initiated on January 30.

Route 1: bank transfer

The UAE bank charged Dh152.25 for the Dh20,000 transfer. On top of that, their exchange rate margin added a difference of around Dh415, compared with the mid-market rate.

Total cost: Dh567.25 - around 2.9 per cent of the total amount

Total received: €4,670.30 

Route 2: online platform

The UAE bank’s charge for sending Dh20,000 to a UK dirham-denominated account was Dh2.10. The exchange rate margin cost was Dh60, plus a Dh12 fee.

Total cost: Dh74.10, around 0.4 per cent of the transaction

Total received: €4,756

The UAE bank transfer was far quicker – around two to three working days, while the online platform took around four to five days, but was considerably cheaper. In the online platform transfer, the funds were also exposed to currency risk during the period it took for them to arrive.

MATCH INFO

Chelsea 1 (Hudson-Odoi 90+1')

Manchester City 3 (Gundogan 18', Foden 21', De Bruyne 34')

Man of the match: Ilkay Gundogan (Man City)

The specs

Engine: Dual synchronous electric motors
Power: 660hp
Torque: 1,100Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic
Touring range: 488km-560km
Price: From Dh850,000 (estimate)
On sale: October

The Scale for Clinical Actionability of Molecular Targets
MATCH INFO

Crawley Town 3 (Tsaroulla 50', Nadesan 53', Tunnicliffe 70')

Leeds United 0 

Bridgerton season three - part one

Directors: Various

Starring: Nicola Coughlan, Luke Newton, Jonathan Bailey

Rating: 3/5

Also on December 7 to 9, the third edition of the Gulf Car Festival (www.gulfcarfestival.com) will take over Dubai Festival City Mall, a new venue for the event. Last year's festival brought together about 900 cars worth more than Dh300 million from across the Emirates and wider Gulf region – and that first figure is set to swell by several hundred this time around, with between 1,000 and 1,200 cars expected. The first day is themed around American muscle; the second centres on supercars, exotics, European cars and classics; and the final day will major in JDM (Japanese domestic market) cars, tuned vehicles and trucks. Individuals and car clubs can register their vehicles, although the festival isn’t all static displays, with stunt drifting, a rev battle, car pulls and a burnout competition.

Confirmed bouts (more to be added)

Cory Sandhagen v Umar Nurmagomedov
Nick Diaz v Vicente Luque
Michael Chiesa v Tony Ferguson
Deiveson Figueiredo v Marlon Vera
Mackenzie Dern v Loopy Godinez

Tickets for the August 3 Fight Night, held in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, went on sale earlier this month, through www.etihadarena.ae and www.ticketmaster.ae.

Mercer, the investment consulting arm of US services company Marsh & McLennan, expects its wealth division to at least double its assets under management (AUM) in the Middle East as wealth in the region continues to grow despite economic headwinds, a company official said.

Mercer Wealth, which globally has $160 billion in AUM, plans to boost its AUM in the region to $2-$3bn in the next 2-3 years from the present $1bn, said Yasir AbuShaban, a Dubai-based principal with Mercer Wealth.

Within the next two to three years, we are looking at reaching $2 to $3 billion as a conservative estimate and we do see an opportunity to do so,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Mercer does not directly make investments, but allocates clients’ money they have discretion to, to professional asset managers. They also provide advice to clients.

“We have buying power. We can negotiate on their (client’s) behalf with asset managers to provide them lower fees than they otherwise would have to get on their own,” he added.

Mercer Wealth’s clients include sovereign wealth funds, family offices, and insurance companies among others.

From its office in Dubai, Mercer also looks after Africa, India and Turkey, where they also see opportunity for growth.

Wealth creation in Middle East and Africa (MEA) grew 8.5 per cent to $8.1 trillion last year from $7.5tn in 2015, higher than last year’s global average of 6 per cent and the second-highest growth in a region after Asia-Pacific which grew 9.9 per cent, according to consultancy Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In the region, where wealth grew just 1.9 per cent in 2015 compared with 2014, a pickup in oil prices has helped in wealth generation.

BCG is forecasting MEA wealth will rise to $12tn by 2021, growing at an annual average of 8 per cent.

Drivers of wealth generation in the region will be split evenly between new wealth creation and growth of performance of existing assets, according to BCG.

Another general trend in the region is clients’ looking for a comprehensive approach to investing, according to Mr AbuShaban.

“Institutional investors or some of the families are seeing a slowdown in the available capital they have to invest and in that sense they are looking at optimizing the way they manage their portfolios and making sure they are not investing haphazardly and different parts of their investment are working together,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Some clients also have a higher appetite for risk, given the low interest-rate environment that does not provide enough yield for some institutional investors. These clients are keen to invest in illiquid assets, such as private equity and infrastructure.

“What we have seen is a desire for higher returns in what has been a low-return environment specifically in various fixed income or bonds,” he said.

“In this environment, we have seen a de facto increase in the risk that clients are taking in things like illiquid investments, private equity investments, infrastructure and private debt, those kind of investments were higher illiquidity results in incrementally higher returns.”

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, one of the largest sovereign wealth funds, said in its 2016 report that has gradually increased its exposure in direct private equity and private credit transactions, mainly in Asian markets and especially in China and India. The authority’s private equity department focused on structured equities owing to “their defensive characteristics.”

SPECS

Engine: 4-litre V8 twin-turbo
Power: 630hp
Torque: 850Nm
Transmission: 8-speed Tiptronic automatic
Price: From Dh599,000
On sale: Now

SPECS

Engine: Two-litre four-cylinder turbo
Power: 235hp
Torque: 350Nm
Transmission: Nine-speed automatic
Price: From Dh167,500 ($45,000)
On sale: Now

Specs

Power train: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 and synchronous electric motor
Max power: 800hp
Max torque: 950Nm
Transmission: Eight-speed auto
Battery: 25.7kWh lithium-ion
0-100km/h: 3.4sec
0-200km/h: 11.4sec
Top speed: 312km/h
Max electric-only range: 60km (claimed)
On sale: Q3
Price: From Dh1.2m (estimate)

THREE

Director: Nayla Al Khaja

Starring: Jefferson Hall, Faten Ahmed, Noura Alabed, Saud Alzarooni

Rating: 3.5/5

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures

The Roundup : No Way Out

Director: Lee Sang-yong
Stars: Don Lee, Lee Jun-hyuk, Munetaka Aoki
Rating: 3/5

World Food Day

Celebrated on October 16, to coincide with the founding date of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, World Food Day aims to tackle issues such as hunger, food security, food waste and the environmental impact of food production.

Visit Abu Dhabi culinary team's top Emirati restaurants in Abu Dhabi

Yadoo’s House Restaurant+& Cafe

For the karak and Yoodo's house platter with includes eggs, balaleet, khamir and chebab bread.

Golden Dallah

For the cappuccino, luqaimat and aseeda.

Al Mrzab Restaurant

For the shrimp murabian and Kuwaiti options including Kuwaiti machboos with kebab and spicy sauce.

Al Derwaza

For the fish hubul, regag bread, biryani and special seafood soup.