Take precautions against contracting monkeypox

Monkeypox: spreading around the globe
Monkeypox in SA: South Africans urged to take precautions(Photo: Freepik)

The Health Ministry has asked South Africans to take precautions against contracting monkeypox. Authorities identified a second case earlier this week.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) confirmed it identified the second case of monkeypox through laboratory testing on Tuesday. 

The case involves a 32-year-old man from the Western Cape who reported no recent travel history. The NICD said links between the first and second cases are unknown.

Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla said people must take precautions against contracting monkeypox. He raised concern that since the second patient had not recently travelled, there was a high possibility of local transmission.

Precautions can prevent monkeypox transmission

The NICD said data indicate that persons with multiple sexual partners present an increased risk of acquiring monkeypox. But it warned anyone could contract the virus if they have had close contact with an infected person. 

The virus is not highly contagious, but transmission needs close physical contact. Monkeypox is less virulent than smallpox and causes less severe illness, but the situation slowly evolves with recorded cases.

Phaahla urged the public to take precautions like good hygiene and other preventative measures. These proved effective against Covid-19 and other infectious diseases in preventing the spread of the virus. 

Phaahla also said it was vital for travellers to endemic countries to alert health officials of the situation, enabling them to guide case detection and management. 

Monkeypox is not a global public emergency

Last week the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) International Health Regulations 2005 (IHR) Emergency Committee met to discuss the multi-country outbreak. 

The Committee decided that the current multi-country outbreak does not constitute a Public Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) at this stage.

Africa CDC has continued to monitor the situation of monkeypox on the continent and globally while supporting African Union (AU) Member States in their efforts to strengthen surveillance systems in-country and across borders. 

According to the Africa CDC, Monkeypox remains a public health emergency in affected African countries and is a high-risk pathogen for neighbouring countries.

However, it is difficult to combat it, especially with a lack of tools such as diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics, which are needed to contain this expanding outbreak include diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics.

The technical and financial resources required to respond to monkeypox in Africa effectively are not yet optimally mobilised. The source and linkage of cases remain under investigation, and the Department of Health, working with the NICD, constantly assesses the risk for local transmission in collaboration with the WHO in line with the International Health Regulations. 

Health officials continue with contact tracing while closely monitoring the situation and alerting clinicians on symptoms to watch. Port officials will also continue with multi-layered screening measures.- Health-e News



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