South Africa records a second case of mpox

words 'monkeypox' on a surgical mask
SA records second case of mpox this year. (Shutterstock)

The National Department of Health issued an alert about increasing mpox cases after a 39-year-old man was admitted at Addington Hospital in Durban in KwaZulu-Natal. This is the second case confirmed in the country in as many weeks. 

Neither of the two men diagnosed with mpox, formerly known as monkeypox, have a travel history to countries currently facing an outbreak of the disease.  According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) there has been a multi-country outbreak of mpox, and a total of 466 laboratory-confirmed cases. Countries affected by the outbreak include Cameroon, Liberia and the Central African Republic. 

Mpox is an infectious disease caused by the monkeypox virus. It  can cause a painful or itchy rash like pimples or blisters. According to the WHO most people fully recover while some get very sick.

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) reports the highest number of cases in the WHO’s Africa region. The country has been battling an mpox outbreak since 2023, that’s been driven by the monkeypox virus (MPXV) clade I.  

The virus is classified into two clades. Clade I, identified as the Congo Basin clade, and clade II, formerly referred to as the West African clade. 

A new variant of the virus named ‘clade 1b’ emerged in April in Kamituga, a mining enclave in the DRC. According to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) the variant exhibits heightened transmissibility, mainly through sexual contact. 

“The clade I, the department said, is characterised by its high virulence and has a higher fatality rate than the global outbreak-associated clade II. Additionally, transmission of MPXV clade I is mostly observed among heterosexual individuals through sexual transmission, particularly among female sex workers,” Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla said in a statement released earlier this month.

“The department is trying to establish if this patient was in contact with the Gauteng patient who was tested positive for mpox two weeks back. The NICD has activated contract tracing and case finding to identify and assess people who have been in contact with the patient who recently tested positive for mpox,” Mohale says.

He says the department encourages the communities to support those who have tested positive for mpox to take their treatment. 

He warns that stigma and discrimination may add to the disease outbreak as people would be scared to go for testing. 

The last case of mpox disease in South Africa was recorded in August 2022. – Health-e News 

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