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Six cases of Mpox or Monkeypox confirmed in South Africa; One Dead

Neelam Rahim | neelam@radioislam.co.za

3-minute read
13 June 2024 | 16:34 CAT

Monkeypox, which mostly occurs in west and central Africa, is a rare viral infection similar to human smallpox, though milder. Image: Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Russell Regnery/ CDC/ REUTERS

A 37-year-old man has become South Africa’s first recorded death from mpox after five laboratory-confirmed cases of the viral infection were recorded in the past month, the health minister said on Wednesday.

The man died in Tembisa Hospital on Monday, Health Minister Joe Phaahla told the media.

Phaahla said all of South Africa’s Mpox cases were in men aged between 30 and 39 without travel history to countries currently experiencing an outbreak, suggesting local infectious disease transmission.

Phaahla explained that the sequencing analysis of three cases revealed Mpox clade IIb, a variant dominant in the multi-country and post-outbreak, which began in 2022.

The last time South Africa recorded positive cases of Mpox was in 2022 when five cases were confirmed in the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and Gauteng, with no cases reported in 2023.

Mr Phaahla said six cases had been recorded in the country this year – two in Gauteng and four in KwaZulu-Natal.

They were all classed as severe and required hospitalisation.

Meanwhile, the Outbreak Response Team have embarked on contact tracing and case finding in the affected provinces.

Mpox, formerly called monkeypox, is a viral infection transmitted through close contact.

Initial symptoms include fever, headaches, swellings, back pain, and aching muscles, which can develop into a rash.

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared a public health emergency over an outbreak of mpox in 2022. Although this ended last year, low cases are still being reported in some countries.

Listen to the full interview on The Daily Round Up with Moulana Junaid Kharsany and the spokesperson for the Health Department, Doctor Tshwale here.

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