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UAE has deployed 9 special teams, lab to combat dengue fever

Health ministry reveals all nationwide efforts to prevent spread of mosquito-borne disease

A fogging machine for mosquito control. (For illustrative purpose only)
Image Credit: Shutterstock

Abu Dhabi: The UAE has set up nine specialised teams as part of measures to combat dengue fever, it was revealed on Wednesday.

The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP), in a written response to a question from the Federal National Council (FNC) on combating dengue fever, said: “The government established nine specialised teams to combat dengue fever, eliminate 409 mosquito breeding sites, provide an insect laboratory, and conduct 1,200 surveys [regarding mosquitoes] in cooperation with the competent authorities in the emirates.”

There are an estimated 134 health facilities to provide appropriate health and treatment services for dengue fever patients, the Ministry added.

Dengue is a viral infection that spreads from mosquitoes to people, according to the World Health Organisation. It is more common in tropical and subtropical climates. Most people who get dengue won’t have symptoms. But for those that do, the most common symptoms are high fever, headache, body aches, nausea and rash. Most patients will get better in one to two weeks. Some people develop severe dengue and need care in a hospital. If symptoms occur, they usually begin four to 10 days after infection and last for two to seven days.

“What are the preparations and measures taken by the Ministry in coordination with the relevant authorities to prevent dengue fever, limit its spread and treat it?” FNC Member Waleed Ali Falah Al Mansouri had asked.


In the response, obtained by Gulf News, the Ministry reaffirmed its readiness to use all resources against epidemics by coordinating with health and environmental authorities — federal and local — which are taking swift measures to prevent dengue fever, limit its spread and treat it.

Immediate reporting and treatment

As part of efforts to combat dengue fever and eliminate mosquitoes that cause it, the Ministry enhanced the efficiency of health workers and epidemiological surveillance of dengue cases. In a circular (dated April 22, 2024), the Ministry called for immediate electronic reporting of cases to preventive medicine units and public health units in health agencies to take immediate action.

All parties are required to diagnose and treat cases in accordance with the latest medical advances. Facilities of the Emirates Health Services Corporation have been equipped to follow best practices to treat the cases. Diagnostic services and laboratory tests are provided in the facility, and results will be given within 24 to 48 hours.


Nationwide coordination

MoHAP said it is coordinating with the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCE) and municipalities to implement an integrated plan to prevent the spread of dengue fever and control of the disease vectors, according to the recommendations of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

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The health ministry said it is joining hands with the environment ministry and strategic partners in a national campaign to eliminate mosquitoes and disease-carrying insects. The coordinates of the locations of mosquito spread across the country have been documented to develop an insect map for monitoring, the ministry said.

Special lab

The Emirates Health Services Corporation has launched a national campaign to fight the spread of mosquitoes by commissioning nine specialised teams. The campaign, supported by a laboratory that specialises in diagnosing mosquito samples, conducts sensitivity and biological tests for pesticides, and studies the effectiveness of pesticides to ensure they are not harmful for humans.


The Ministry’s teams conducted 1,200 entomological surveys for Novellus Aedes mosquitoes, analysed 309 samples for mosquito DNA in the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority (ADFSA) laboratory, and eliminated 409 breeding sites for Aedes aegypti mosquito larvae as part of the national campaign.

Awareness and training campaigns

MoHAP teams also held community awareness campaigns on the importance of eliminating mosquitoes to prevent diseases. This campaign, conducted in several languages including Arabic and English, are hosted on the Ministry’s social media platforms, digital channels and the website.

Dengue symptoms

  • High fever (40°C/104°F)
  • Severe headache
  • Pain behind the eyes
  • Muscle and joint pains
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Swollen glands
  • Rash
  • Bleeding in gums, urine or stool, etc.
  • Decrease in white blood cells
  • Decrease in platelets

What if I get dengue?

  • Take rest 

  • Drink plenty of liquids

  • Avoid non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, like ibuprofen and aspirin
  • Contact your doctor as soon as possible if you notice any symptoms

Human-to-mosquito transmission

WHO and Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi said even mosquitoes can become infected by people who are “viremic” with the dengue virus. This can be someone with a symptomatic dengue infection, someone who is yet to have a symptomatic infection (pre-symptomatic), and also someone who shows no signs of illness (asymptomatic).
Human-to-mosquito transmission can occur up to two days before someone shows symptoms of the illness, and up to 2 days after the fever has resolved.


Prevention and control

The mosquitoes that spread dengue are active during the day. The risk of getting dengue can be reduced by protecting yourself from mosquito bites by using: 

  • clothes that cover as much of your body as possible 

  • mosquito nets if sleeping during the day. Ideally nets shoud be sprayed with insect repellent.

  • window screens
  • mosquito repellents (containing DEET, Picaridin or IR3535)

  • coils and vapourisers.

How to prevent mosquito breeding

  • Preventing mosquitoes from accessing egg-laying habitats by environmental management and modification.

  • Disposing off solid waste properly and removing artificial man-made habitats that can hold water. 

  • Covering, emptying and cleaning domestic water storage containers on a weekly basis.

  • Applying appropriate insecticides to outdoor water storage containers.