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First monkeypox cases confirmed in South Africa

Test tube labelled ‘Monkeypox virus positive’ are seen in this illustration taken May 22, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

Test tube labelled ‘Monkeypox virus positive’ are seen in this illustration taken May 22, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

Published Jun 23, 2022

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Johannesburg - South Africa has confirmed its first case of monkeypox from a 30-year-old man who has no travel history.

Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla confirmed on Thursday that he received a report from the National Health laboratory Services chief executive that they confirmed through laboratory tests the first case of monkeypox in South Africa.

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“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. Working with the relevant health authorities a process of contact tracing has begun,” Phaahla said.

The minister said monkeypox is usually a mild disease manifesting as blisters on the skin and self-limiting with a fatality rate of 1%.

The disease has previously been reported in African countries such as Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic and Ghana in the early 2000s. The current outbreak is dominated by high numbers in the UK, Spain, Germany, Portugal and France. Cases have also been reported in the USA and Canada.

“The disease only spread through close droplets so you cannot get 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 what transmission is through close contact,” the minister said.

The Star

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