SA records first Monkeypox case – in patient with NO travel history The Minister of Health, Dr Joe Phaahla, said the 30-year-old male patient could not have picked up the infection outside the country. Phaahla said he received a report from the CEO of the National Health Laboratory Services late on Wednesday that confirmed the detection of the first case of monkeypox in the country. “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,” said the health minister.

The National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) said contact tracing is currently underway and the Institute is working on identifying any additional linked cases of the disease. The NICD is conducting online training for health workers that would enable them to detect the disease and report it so the necessary laboratory tests can be done. On Thursday, Phaahla said monkeypox is usually a mild disease that manifests as blisters on the skin and is usually self-limiting with a fatality rate of around 1%. “The disease only spread through close droplets so you cannot get it by being in the same room with an infected person.

Thus far it has been dominant in men who have set with men, but the main feature is that transmission is through close contact,” said Phaahla. After cases of monkeypox were detected in several European countries, the UK and US, the NICD said the risk of importation to South Africa was a reality. “The implications for South Africa are that the risk of importation of monkeypox is a reality as lessons learnt from COVID-19 have illustrated that outbreaks in another part of the world can fast become a global concern,” said NICD Executive Director, Professor Adrian Puren on 23 May.


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