No cases of mpox reported in the Free State

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The Department of Health has confirmed that the country has recorded three more positive cases of mpox (formerly known as monkey pox) and one death as the efforts to curb the spread of this infectious disease are ongoing in the affected communities around the country. However, no cases have been confirmed in the Free State yet.

According to the department, the latest cases/patients include a 40-year-old male from Ladysmith in KwaZulu-Natal who presented with mpox-like symptoms, including rash all over his body but he was never in hospital.

“He passed on at home and the results came back positive for mpox on 23 June 2024. Two other cases were confirmed in Gauteng – a 43-year-old man was diagnosed on 22 June 2024 at a local private health facility in Johannesburg, and a 29-year-old male was diagnosed in a Mamelodi health facility on 21 June 2024.

This brings the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases of mpox in South Africa to 16 since the outbreak of the disease in May 2024,” said the department.

The department, working with provinces and other stakeholders in the sector, has embarked on health education with funeral parlours on how to handle the human remains of the demised with suspected or confirmed mpox.

“The department would like to allay fears of possible travel restrictions or lockdowns due to mpox outbreak because the World Health Organisation has not recommended any travel restrictions. However, it is important for travellers from mpox endemic countries to seek health care if they are ill and to alert health officials about their travel for clinical guidance,” the department stated.

“Individuals, families and communities are urged to support all those who experience mpox-like symptoms to present themselves at the nearest healthcare facilities without delay for screening and diagnosis, instead of self-diagnosis and using over-the-counter medication. Anyone can contract mpox regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation and race. Mpox is preventable and manageable, and treatment for both mild and severe cases is available. People at high risk include those living with chronic conditions such as HIV, TB and diabetes.”

Compiled by Justine Fortuin