Home South African Mpox death toll rises to 3, with 16 positive cases

Mpox death toll rises to 3, with 16 positive cases

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The national Department of Health confirmed on Wednesday three additional cases of Mpox, along with another fatality. These developments come as authorities continue their efforts to contain the spread of the disease within affected communities.

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THE NATIONAL Department of Health confirmed on Wednesday three additional cases of Mpox, a rare infectious disease, along with another fatality. These developments come as authorities continue their efforts to contain the spread of the disease within affected communities.

Since the outbreak in May 2024, the total number of laboratory-confirmed Mpox cases in South Africa has reached 16. Tragically, the death toll now stands at three.

The department said that the latest cases involve individuals in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

In KZN, a 40-year-old man from Ladysmith presented with symptoms resembling smallpox, including a widespread rash. Unfortunately, he did not seek medical attention and passed away at home. His Mpox test results returned positive on Sunday, June 23.

In Gauteng, a 43-year-old man was diagnosed on June 22 at a local private health facility in Johannesburg, while a 29-year-old man was diagnosed at a Mamelodi health facility on June 21.

The department said both patients exhibited symptoms indicative of the disease and had no recent international travel history.

Of the 16 infections in the country, eight cases are from KZN, seven from Gauteng, and one from the Western Cape. All affected individuals are male and fall within the age range of 23 to 43 years.

The national department, in collaboration with provincial authorities and other stakeholders, has initiated health education programmes with funeral parlours. These programmes aim to guide the safe handling of human remains in suspected and confirmed Mpox cases.

The department also allayed fears of possible travel restrictions or lockdowns due to the Mpox outbreak. It noted that the World Health Organization has not recommended any travel restrictions. However, it is important for travellers from Mpox endemic countries to seek health care if they are ill and to alert health officials about their travel for clinical guidance, the department added.

“Mpox is an infectious disease caused by the monkeypox virus. It can be transmitted to a person through contact with the virus from an animal, human, or materials contaminated with the virus. Symptoms include a painful rash, enlarged lymph nodes, and fever,” said the department.

It added that the public is urged to support anyone showing Mpox-like symptoms by encouraging them to seek immediate screening and diagnosis at the nearest health-care facilities. “Instead of self-diagnosis and over-the-counter medication, professional medical evaluation is crucial.”

The department said it’s important to note that anyone can contract Mpox regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, or race. Fortunately, Mpox is preventable and manageable, and treatment options are available. People at high risk include those living with chronic conditions such as HIV, TB and diabetes.

Source: SAnews.go.za

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