Mpox outbreak in SA: Six confirmed cases, two deaths, here’s what you need to know about the virus

Six cases of Mpox have been confirmed in South Africa. Picture: Supplied

Six cases of Mpox have been confirmed in South Africa. Picture: Supplied

Published Jun 14, 2024


By Simon Majadibodu

At least six laboratory cases of Mpox, previously known as Monkeypox, have been confirmed in South Africa, with two deaths, one in Gauteng and one in KZN. Here's what you need to know about the virus.

To begin, what exactly is Mpox?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Mpox, also known as monkeypox, is a viral illness caused by the monkeypox virus. It is a viral infection which can be transmitted between people and, on occasion, from environmental surfaces that have been touched by an individual infected with Mpox.

Symptoms of Mpox

Symptoms of Mpox include a rash resembling blisters or sores on various parts of the body such as the face, palms of the hands, soles of the feet, body, eyes, mouth, and genitals, along with fever, headache, muscle ache, back pains, low energy, and swollen lymph nodes.

Transmission of Mpox

Mpox is transmitted from person to person through close contact with an infected individual, which includes face-to-face interaction, skin-to-skin contact, mouth-to-mouth contact, and sexual activity.

Prevention of Mpox

Prevention of Mpox involves avoiding close contact with people who have the illness, and refrain from sexual activity. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand rub.

Seek medical advice and isolate yourself if you suspect you may have Mpox until you have been evaluated and tested. If diagnosed with Mpox, isolate yourself from others until all lesions have crusted over, scabs have fallen off, and new skin has formed.

As an added precaution, use condoms during sexual activity for 12 weeks after recovery.

Treatment of Mpox

National Health Minister, Dr Joe Phaahla said at the current moment, there was no registered treatment for Mpox in South Africa.

“However, the World Health Organization recommends the use of Tecovirimat (known as TPOXX) for treatment of severe cases, such as in individuals with a CD4 count of less than 350.

“However, the Department has obtained Tecovirimat via Section 21 South African Health Products Regulatory Authority approval on compassionate use basis for the five known patients with severe disease,” Phaahla said.

He said South Africa is trying to source vaccines from WHO member countries who have stockpiles.