South Africa has recorded its first case of Monkeypox in the country. Health Minister Joe Phaahla was briefing the media on Thursday on the repeal of regulations on notifiable medical conditions dealing with the covid-19 pandemic and on monkey-pox.
Phaahla says they received a report late on Wednesday from the National Health laboratory Services CEO that they have confirmed through laboratory tests the first case of monkeypox in South Africa.
“The patient is a 30-year-old male from Johannesburg who has no travel history, meaning that this cannot be attributed to having been acquired outside South Africa. Working with the relevant health authorities a process of contact tracing has begun.”
Phaahla said the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) is conducting online in service training for health workers for them to be able to detect the disease so that the necessary laboratory tests can be done.
“The disease only spread through close droplets so you cannot get by being in the same room with an infected person. Thus far it has been dominant in men who have sex with men, but the main feature is that transmission is through close contact.”
What is Monkeypox
Monkeypox is a rare viral infection in humans.
Since May 2022, monkeypox has been reported in more than 3 000 individuals from several European countries, the USA, Canada, Australia, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates.
This is the first multi-country outbreak of monkeypox and is already the largest outbreak of monkeypox recorded.
The cases to date mostly involve individuals that self-identify as men having sex with men.
Risk factors include reporting multiple sexual partners.
Recent large social events are thought to have served as super spreader events.
Person-to-person transmission involves close contact (for example kissing, cuddling, sexual contact) with an infected person or materials that have been contaminated by an infected person (for example sharing linen, clothes and other household items).
The virus is not highly transmissible and close physical contact is required for transmission. It does not spread similarly to influenza or the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Monkeypox presents with an acute illness characterised by fever and general flu-like symptoms, followed by the eruption of a blister-like rash on the skin.
The disease is rarely fatal and cases typically resolve within two to four weeks.
Most cases do not require hospital treatment and prevention of infection hinges on the isolation of cases until fully recovered.
The risk to the general population is considered low, given the low transmissibility of the virus.
The World Health Organization recommends increasing vigilance for cases with contact tracing and monitoring of laboratory-confirmed cases.
Isolation of confirmed cases allows for the prevention of transmission and interruption of the cycle of transmission.
Circulation of the monkeypox virus in humans may be eliminated through this classic containment approach.
Mass vaccination against the monkeypox virus is not currently recommended