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Monkeypox: SA records fourth case

Monkeypox: Vaccine on the cards as SA records fourth case
pharmacist's hand with latex glove preparing monkeypox vaccine, pharmaceutical laboratory
Written by Faith Mutizira

Health Minister Dr Joe Phaala is expected to reveal details of the county’s response to Monkeypox on Friday. Phaala announced that a fourth monkeypox virus case was identified in SA. 

The patient is a 28-year-old man from the Western Cape who has a travel history to Spain and returned to South Africa in the second week of August 2022.

A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test was performed in a private pathology laboratory, and the samples were submitted to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD ) for sequencing analysis. Public health response measures to prevent the spread of the infection, including contact tracing, have been instituted.

The fourth case follows three unlinked laboratory-confirmed monkeypox cases reported from Gauteng, Western Cape and Limpopo provinces. 

These cases were reported in males aged 30, 32 and 42 years who have since completed the self-isolation and monitoring period without reported further symptoms and health complications.

Africa is the only continent where monkeypox is endemic, yet no vaccines are available. However, Aspen Pharmacare (Aspen), a global multinational speciality pharmaceutical company, says they are willing to step up, as they did for Covid-19, should there be a need.

Last month Aspen released a statement made by Aspen Group Chief Executive, Stephen Saad, stating that Aspen once again stands ready to support the global effort needed to contain the latest threat that monkeypox represents, and they are available to do so through collaborations that would utilise their world-class sterile and vaccine manufacturing facilities.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) announced they would change the names of monkeypox virus variants to end stigma and discrimination centred around the monkeypox virus.

A group of global experts convened by WHO agreed on new names for monkeypox virus variants as part of ongoing efforts to align the names of the monkeypox disease, virus and variants—or clades—with current best practices. The experts agreed to name the clades using Roman numerals.

Major variants were identified by the geographic regions where they were known to circulate.

In the news release, they said that the current best practice is that newly-identified viruses, related diseases, and virus variants should be given names to avoid offending any cultural, social, national, regional, professional, or ethnic groups and minimise any negative impact on trade, travel, tourism or animal welfare.

A Roman numeral will represent the proper naming structure for the clade and a lower-case alphanumeric character for the subclades. 

Thus, the new naming convention comprises Clade I, Clade IIa and Clade IIb, with the latter referring primarily to the group of variants mainly circulating in the 2022 global outbreak. 

The naming of lineages will be as proposed by scientists as the outbreak evolves. Experts will be reconvened as needed.

For more information on monkeypox, click here. -Health-e News 

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Faith Mutizira

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