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Wednesday, November 29, 2023
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Refer to epidemic mapping for ‘hotspots’, public told

James Kon

The public can use the epidemic mapping on the BruHealth app to find out the locations of positive cases in the Sultanate, as the feature shows hotspots based on residential addresses of the cases.

This was said by Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar during the press conference yesterday in response to a query on the reason why cluster information is no longer shared.

In epidemiological terms, he said, “the definition of a cluster is when three or more cases are associated with a location, group or event occurring at the same time. To determine a cluster, accurate information is needed about the source of infection and the chain of transmission”.

The minister explained that most cases do not know how they got infected in the first place.

“For instance, in a high contagion situation like now, a COVID-19-positive worker is more likely to get the infection from members of his or her household, co-workers or from public places. To determine the source of infection is difficult,” he said.

The identification of clusters is complicated, given the fact that transmission is very high in communities, thus making it difficult to determine the infection chain accurately. Unlike the first and second waves of outbreaks in the Sultanate, where the limited number of transmissions enabled “accurate cluster identification”, the third wave is seeing prevalent transmissions of cases, thus posing a challenge in “determining the source of infection for a single cluster”, the minister said.

“Avoiding positive cases is also very difficult,” the minister added.

A screenshot of the Epidemic Map feature on BruHealth app

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