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More monkeypox cases suspected in SA as first patient was not a traveller - NICD

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), global monkeypox cases are at 2 103, with one recorded death. File picture: Arlington Heights/Daily Herald, Tanit Jarusan/AP

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), global monkeypox cases are at 2 103, with one recorded death. File picture: Arlington Heights/Daily Herald, Tanit Jarusan/AP

Published Jun 23, 2022

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The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) has revealed that it is highly likely there are more cases of monkeypox in South Africa as the first recorded patient had no history of travel.

NICD principal medical scientist Dr Jacqueline Weyer said during a media briefing on Thursday that contact tracing is under way and they expect to identify more cases.

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“There are other cases in South Africa. How many we can't answer at this stage but investigations are ongoing. Unfortunately because there's no travel history for this particular case it means that the disease was acquired locally.

“We should be able to identify the contacts, work with them and identify all possible chains of transmission. When we do identify active cases the recommendations are for those cases to isolate ,” said Weyer.

Health Minister Joe Phaahla announced earlier on Thursday that the patient is a 30-year-old male from Johannesburg.

“Monkeypox is usually a mild disease manifesting as blisters on the skin. It is usually mild and self-limiting with a fatality rate of 1%,” he said.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), global monkeypox cases are at 2 103, with one recorded death.

According to the NICD, the virus can spread to others through close contact such as kissing, cuddling, or touching parts of the body.

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Weyer said the disease transmission is slow within a population and it doesn't transmit the same way as Covid-19 or influenza.

“The WHO recommendation is to apply the principle of the containment, or in this instance is what we called the classic containment approach. Where we are putting measures in place to increase our sensitivity to identify cases, contact trace and isolate cases,” she said.

Initial symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, chills and exhaustion.

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Within 1-3 days of the onset of fever, a rash can appear, like pimples, but develop to a blister-like appearance. The rash can be on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body, like the hands, feet, chest, genitals, or anus.

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