UAE eliminates more than 400 mosquito sites in anti-dengue campaign

GPS technology was used to map mosquito breeding sites and an insect lab was established to test pesticides


Ruqayya Al Qaydi

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Photo: Screengrab / A video from the Ministry of Health and Prevention
Photo: Screengrab / A video from the Ministry of Health and Prevention

Published: Wed 22 May 2024, 3:27 PM

Last updated: Wed 22 May 2024, 11:36 PM

UAE health authorities have stamped out a total of 409 sites where dengue-causing mosquitoes were found, a senior government official said on Wednesday.

Concerns over dengue fever had emerged after the heaviest rain on record flooded several UAE neighbourhoods, creating ponds of stagnant water that could easily become mosquito breeding sites. Dengue fever is a viral infection that is transmitted by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes.

Several measures have been taken to fight dengue fever in the UAE, said Abdul Rahman bin Mohamed Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention, as the matter was taken up in a Federal National Council (FNC) session on Wednesday.

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The Ministry of Health and Prevention (Mohap) has used the latest GPS technologies to map and wipe out mosquito breeding sites across the country, Al Owais said, responding to a question from an FNC member.

Nine specialised teams from the Emirates Health Services were also deployed across the northern emirates to support the nationwide anti-dengue drive. An insect laboratory was set up to evaluate mosquito samples and test pesticides' effectiveness.

Mohap also conducted more than 1,200 mosquito surveys and analysed 309 DNA samples in collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority.

Health education and community awareness campaigns have been conducted to combat mosquitoes. These programmes, conducted in both Arabic and English, use multiple visual tools to educate the public on effective prevention practices.

The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MoCCAE) had earlier urged residents to report mosquito sightings and breeding sites.

In an interview, Othaibah Saeed Al Qaydi, director of Municipal Affairs Department at the ministry, told Khaleej Times that the ministry is using GIS mapping, sensors, predictive modelling, and big data analytics to curb mosquito proliferation.

The official also advised residents to use mosquito repellents and wear protective clothing that cover their arms and legs to minimise exposure. “Installing anti-mosquito screens and … nets are very helpful."

There are also efforts to enhance healthcare workers' skills and improve dengue surveillance. This includes raising awareness about diagnosing dengue without travel history and ensuring immediate electronic case reporting. Epidemiological teams investigate cases, identifying and managing contacts and nearby individuals to detect any further cases promptly.

Health authorities are coordinating with the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment and the municipality for entomological investigations. Rapid response teams assess and combat the transmitting insect near the patient's residence or workplace.

Diagnosis and treatment are following the latest global standards. Health authorities provide necessary diagnostic services and lab tests within 24-48 hours, ensuring best practices in treatment. All 134 Emirates Health Services facilities are equipped to treat dengue fever patients.


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