Saudi Arabia Bans Imports Of African Monkeys and Rodents Over Monekypox Fears

Saudi Arabia on Monday announced a temporary ban on imports of all types of rodents and non-human primates such as monkeys from countries in the African continent in order to prevent the spread of monkeypox virus in the Kingdom.   

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture said that the ban is a response to the directive of the World Health Organization (WHO) as part of precautionary measures to prevent the spread of monkeypox virus.

The ministry said it has informed the Federation of Chambers of Commerce about the World Organization for Animal Health fact sheet on the monkeypox virus, which states that the virus is endemic in central and western African countries.

According to WHO, monkeypox is a viral zoonotic disease that occurs primarily in tropical rainforest areas of central and west Africa which is now spread to South and Central America, southern Asia,  and a few species in Japan.

Monkeypox virus could easily transmit to humans through close contact with an infected person or animal, or with material contaminated with the virus. 

The ministry said that as per WHO fact sheet, there is a need to slap restrictions on animal trade in order to stop the spread of the virus in the society. 

Saudi health officials on July 26th announced two new cases of monkeypox in the Kingdom from the passengers returned from Europe.

On July 23, the WHO had declared a global health emergency due to the outbreak of monkeypox, and so far the virus has been detected in more than seventy-five countries, which Europe is most affected. 

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