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SA records second Mpox case


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SA records second Mpox case

28th May 2024

By: Thabi Shomolekae
Creamer Media Senior Writer


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South Africa has recorded the second laboratory-confirmed case of Mpox disease, an infectious disease caused by the monkeypox virus with the potential to cause a painful or itchy rash like pimples or blisters.

The new patient is a 39-year-old male who was admitted at Addington Hospital in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) without travel history to countries and regions currently experiencing the outbreak of the disease.


The Department of Health urged members of the public who experience suspected symptoms of Mpox disease to visit their nearest healthcare provider for screening and testing to ensure early diagnosis and effective treatment to prevent further spread of the disease.

Working closely with the KZN province and the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), the department has activated contract tracing and case finding to identify and assess people who have been in contact with the patient to prevent further transmission, especially at a household and community level.


“This will also assist to establish if the second case was in contact with the first case confirmed in Gauteng earlier this month, it said.

According to the World Health Organisation a multi-country outbreak of Mpox saw a total of 466 laboratory-confirmed cases of mpox and three deaths from 22 countries reported in March 2024, illustrating that low-level transmission continues across the world.

The health department has also warned that South Africa is currently experiencing the annual influenza (flu) season which it said started in the week of April 22, and that a number of flu strains are circulating causing severe health complications in some patients.

The department explained that the flu has been confused with Covid-19 variant which has been in circulation with low level of transmissibility and severity.

“The most commonly detected and circulating influenza subtype and lineage are A(H1N1) pdm09, previously known as “swine flu” because it was causing disease in pigs, followed by influenza B/Victoria and influenza A(H3N2),” it said.

The department noted that this was not unusual as influenza A(H1N1) pdm09 has been circulating each season as one of the annual seasonal influenza strains since 2010.

It added that influenza A virus is more severe in adults.

“…about 8 -10% of patients hospitalised for pneumonia and 25% of patients with flu-like illness (fever and cough) will test positive for influenza during the flu season in South Africa,” the department said.

According to the NICD surveillance data, the numbers of influenza cases and positivity rates are increasing rapidly, but the transmission and impact remained at a moderate level of activity for outpatient and hospitalised cases, it highlighted.

“This means that while there is a lot of influenza circulating, it is still within the expected range for a normal influenza season. Influenza may cause severe illness leading to hospitalisation or possibly death, especially among those who are at risk of severe influenza illness or complications,” the health department said.


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