Johannesburg - The South African Medical Association (SAMA) has urged vigilance among its members and the public after the discovery of the first monkeypox case in South Africa.
South Africa’s first ever monkeypox was confirmed last week in Gauteng, however SAMA cautions members in other provinces to be on the lookout for this virus.
“SAMA recommends that its members exercise vigilance and is in support of the adoption of contact tracing and monitoring of the cases as per the guidance of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the NICD,” the association said.
According to the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD), the case reported in South Africa involves a 30-year-male with no recent travel history.
“Because of the travel history for this particular case, it means that this disease was acquired locally so the case tracing process is underway and the idea is to identity the contacts the individual had with and trace back any cases,” said Dr Jacqueline Weyer during a question and answer session with the NICD on Thursday
The virus is transmitted through person-to-person close, direct contact with infected person/s or contaminated materials (e.g. bed linen, clothes and other household items).
The virus is said to be not highly transmissible, unlike the influenza or SARS-CoV-2 virusa, according to NICD.
SAMA said the symptoms to look out for are acute illness typified by fever, general flu-like symptoms, followed by blister-like rash on the skin and/or swelling of the lymph nodes.
“It is also noted that the disease is rarely fatal; cases can resolve within two to four weeks. Isolation of cases is recommended to limit the spread of infection,” SAMA said.