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One fatality reported as MPOX outbreak strikes South Africa

One fatality reported as MPOX outbreak strikes South Africa

One fatality reported as MPOX outbreak strikes South Africa

One fatality reported as MPOX outbreak strikes South Africa

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  • The five cases reported between May 8 and June 7 are the first since 2022.
  • Symptoms include skin rash, fever, headache, muscle aches, and swollen lymph nodes.
  • All recently infected individuals in South Africa are men in their 30s, with two still hospitalized.
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South Africa’s government announced on Wednesday that an outbreak of mpox has claimed one life and infected four others. The Health Minister, Joe Phaahla, informed reporters that the five cases, reported between May 8 and June 7, mark the first instances recorded in the country since 2022. Authorities are now endeavoring to procure additional treatment drugs as a precautionary measure.

Phaahla emphasized, “One death is too many, especially from a preventable and manageable disease,” urging individuals with suspected symptoms to seek medical attention and aid in contact tracing efforts. Previously recognized as monkeypox, mpox is a viral illness transmitted through close contact with infected humans or animals, as well as through materials such as contaminated sheets.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the disease induces painful and scarring lesions, primarily affecting the face, anus, and genitals. Common symptoms include a skin rash, fever, headache, muscle aches, and swollen lymph nodes.

Mpox was initially detected in humans in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo, with subsequent spread primarily restricted to specific West and Central African nations. However, in May 2022, infections surged worldwide, primarily among men who have sex with men, prompting the WHO to declare it a global health emergency.

The UN agency lifted the alert last year, but low-level transmission of mpox persists worldwide. According to the WHO, more than 97,000 cases and 186 deaths were reported across 117 countries in the first four months of 2024.

Phaahla stated that all recently infected individuals in South Africa were men in their 30s, and their cases were classified as severe. He mentioned that two individuals remain hospitalized. Referring to an antiviral drug, Phaahla expressed the intention to obtain a stockpile of Tecovirimat treatment for rapid deployment in case the current situation leads to a wider outbreak.

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