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Concept: Makkah Province

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Pyrethroid resistance is a threat to effective vector control of Aedes aegypti, the vector of dengue, Zika and other arboviruses, but there are many major knowledge gaps on the mechanisms of resistance. In Jeddah and Makkah, the principal dengue-endemic areas of Saudi Arabia, pyrethroids are used widely for Ae. aegypti control but information about resistance remains sparse, and the underlying genetic basis is unknown. Findings from an ongoing study in this internationally significant area are reported here.

Concepts: Saudi Arabia, Riyadh, Mecca, Aedes aegypti, Aedes, Jeddah, Medina, Makkah Province

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Dengue is the most important arboviral disease in tropical and subtropical countries. Dispersal of the vector and an increase in migratory flow between countries have led to large epidemics and severe clinical outcomes. Over the past 20 years, dengue epidemics have become more wide-spread and frequent. Previous studies have shown that dengue is endemic in Jeddah, Makkah and Al-Madinah in western Saudi Arabia as well as in Jazan region in the southern part of the country. The four serotypes of dengue virus (DENV) have been reported from western Saudi Arabia. It has been suggested that pilgrims could play a significant and unique role in DENV-1 and DENV-2 introduction into Saudi Arabia, especially in the cities of Jeddah, Makkah and Al-Madinah during Hajj and Umrah seasons. However, only limited data on DENV-3 in Saudi Arabia are available.

Concepts: Saudi Arabia, Arabian Peninsula, Riyadh, Mecca, Jeddah, Medina, Masjid al-Haram, Makkah Province

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Abstract: Vitamin D deficiency is widespread in Saudi Arabia. The aim of this study was to explore participants' knowledge about vitamin D and attitudes toward sun exposure. The study also aimed to explore the social and cultural factors that might potentially contribute to vitamin D deficiency in Saudi Arabia. Face-to-face interviews were carried out in the cities of Jeddah and Makkah between May and October 2015. The interview questions were semi-structured, and the data was analyzed using thematic analysis. Study participants showed a reasonable level of knowledge in different areas about vitamin D, including the effect of vitamin D deficiency on bone health and exposure to sunlight as the main source of vitamin D. Participants were also knowledgeable about vitamin D supplements as another source of this vitamin. Nevertheless, there was a shortage of knowledge in relation to dietary sources of vitamin D. In respect to attitudes toward sun exposure, some participants had positive attitudes toward sunlight and were willing to expose themselves to sunlight, but it was restricted to the early morning or late afternoon to avoid the heat. These participants who liked exposure to sunlight were largely exposing only their faces and hands to sunlight. Other participants had negative attitudes toward sun exposure and were avoiding sunlight. Moreover, the study participants identified several barriers to sun exposure, including hot climate, living in high-rise buildings, limited public areas allowing outdoor activities, lifestyle issues such as physical inactivity, and some religious concerns such as wearing the hijab. The study results also demonstrate that females were more enthusiastic about taking actions to improve their vitamin D status in comparison with males. Recommendations for health education interventions that increase awareness about vitamin D sources, especially food sources, are made. Also, educational interventions should focus on increasing awareness about the sufficient time of the day and duration for sun exposure to improve vitamin D status and the importance of the intake of vitamin D supplements as an affordable source to improve vitamin D status. Increasing males' awareness of the benefits of vitamin D is important to encourage them to adopt behaviors to improve vitamin D.

Concepts: Vitamin D, Ultraviolet, Saudi Arabia, Riyadh, Mecca, Jeddah, Medina, Makkah Province

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The aim of this study is to investigate the variability of aerosol over The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. For this analysis, Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Deep Blue (DB) Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) product from Terra and Aqua satellites for the years 2000-2013 is used. The product is validated using AERONET data from ground stations, which are situated at Solar Village Riyadh and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) Jeddah. The results show that both Terra and Aqua satellites exhibit a tendency to show the spatial variation of AOD with Aqua being better than Terra to represent the ground based AOD measurements over the study region. The results also show that the eastern, central, and southern regions of the country have a high concentration of AOD during the study period. The validation results show the highest correlation coefficient between Aqua and KAUST data with a value of 0.79, whilst the Aqua and Solar Village based AOD indicates the lowest Root Mean Square Error (RMSE) and Mean Absolute Error (MAE) values which are, 0.17 and 0.12 respectively. Furthermore, the Relative Mean Bias (RMB) based analysis show that the DB algorithm overestimates the AOD when using Terra and Solar Village data, while it underestimates the AOD when using Aqua with Solar Village and KAUST data. The RMB value for Aqua and Solar Village data indicates that the DB algorithm is close to normal in the study region.

Concepts: Saudi Arabia, Riyadh, Mecca, Root mean square, Mean squared error, Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, Jeddah, Makkah Province

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The cases of dengue reported earlier in the late 1990s from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) occurred in the cities of Jeddah and Makkah. Although the kingdom has ample financial resources to establish effective control measures for the dengue vector, numerous cases of dengue occur and fluctuate in numbers from year to year. This necessitates a serious review of the current vector control strategies being practiced in order to identify the existing shortcomings. This short report provides an update on epidemiology of dengue in KSA (specifically in cities of Jeddah and Makkah) with a critical look at the current vector control strategies.

Concepts: Saudi Arabia, Arabian Peninsula, Riyadh, Mecca, Jeddah, House of Saud, Medina, Makkah Province