Dengue fever explained: How virus is transmitted and how UAE residents can stay safe, prevent mosquito bites

UAE authorities have ramped up efforts to fight the spread of the disease and raise public awareness


Sahim Salim

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram


File photo: Reuters
File photo: Reuters

Published: Thu 23 May 2024, 1:21 PM

Last updated: Thu 23 May 2024, 3:51 PM

From using technology to detect and destroy mosquito breeding sites to using human-safe pesticides, the UAE has taken several measures to prevent the spread of dengue fever. Abdul Rahman bin Mohamed Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention, told the country’s parliamentary body — the Federal National Council (FNC) — on Wednesday that authorities have eliminated over 400 sites where dengue-causing mosquitoes were found.

In an interview with Khaleej Times earlier, an official from the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment said a lot of factors have contributed to an increase in mosquito populations in the UAE. These include the record-breaking rains the country received in mid-April, climate change and urbanisation.

In multiple advisories, the Ministry of Health and Prevention (Mohap) and Emirates Health Services (EHS) have detailed what residents need to know about dengue, how to prevent the illness, what the symptoms are, and when to seek medical help.

Here is all you need to know:

What is dengue fever? Can it be transmitted directly from person to person?

Dengue fever is a viral infection transmitted by the Aedes mosquito. According to the EHS, the virus cannot be transmitted directly from person to person. It spreads when a “female Aedes mosquito bites an infected person and then subsequently bites an uninfected individual, transmitting the virus into their bloodstream”.

How is it diagnosed? What are its symptoms?

The virus is detected through blood tests. Mohap advised residents to consult a doctor if they experience the following symptoms:

  • High fever (40°C)
  • Severe headache
  • Pain behind the eyes
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Swollen glands
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Skin rash

Is there a treatment for dengue?

There is no specific medicine to treat patients with dengue fever. It is managed with pain medications. EHS advised infected individuals to:

  • Get rest
  • Increase fluid intake
  • Take pain relievers
  • Avoid blood thinners such as aspirin
  • Avoid exposure to mosquito bites to prevent the spread of the disease

How can one prevent mosquito-borne diseases?

Othaibah Saeed Al Qaydi, director of the Municipal Affairs Department at the climate change ministry, had offered these tips to stay safe:

  • Report potential mosquito sightings and breeding sites to 8003050
  • Avoid water accumulation in residential and office areas. Even small pools of water in discarded tires, cans, or flowerpots can serve as breeding sites; drain them
  • Use mosquito repellents
  • Wear protective clothing that covers arms and legs to minimise exposure to mosquitoes
  • Instal anti-mosquito screens and nets
  • Mosquito traps also go a long way in eliminating the flies
  • Maintain gardens and yards by cleaning them regularly and avoiding water accumulation

What you need to know about mosquitoes

According to the Mohap, mosquitoes:

  • Live for two to four weeks depending on the species, humidity, temperature and other factors
  • Can bite during the day and night
  • Are present throughout the year and increase after rains
  • Are found indoors and outdoors; and breed in stagnant water


More news from Lifestyle