Phaahla urges for vigilance after KZN patient succumbs to Mpox

South Africa has recorded another Mpox-related case and death in KwaZulu-Natal.

This comes after Dr Joe Phaahla, the Minister of Health, provided an update on the virus and the government’s efforts to combat its spread on Wednesday.

According to Phaahla, the case involves a 38-year-old man from Mgungundlovu, who was hospitalised on Wednesday and tested positive for Mpox.

Mpox, previously referred to as monkey pox, is an infectious disease caused by the monkeypox virus.

Phaahla said the patient, who had gone to the hospital complaining of a headache, exhaustion, mouth ulcers, muscle soreness, and a sore throat, died after he tested positive.

Disease is preventable and treatable

“This brings the total number of positive cases from five to six and deaths to two within a period of five weeks,” Phaahla said on Thursday.

“We call for more vigilance as the cases continue to increase.”

He added that Mpox is a preventable and treatable disease if diagnosed early.

“Hence, we say early diagnosis saves lives, and people need to avoid physical contact with a person who has been diagnosed with Mpox. It is advised that the public practise hand hygiene.”

The first death was recorded in Gauteng on Monday, where a 37-year-old man died as a result of the virus after being admitted to the hospital three days earlier.

Phaahla said all the Mpox patients have no travel history to the countries that are experiencing the virus outbreak.

Local transmission

“This suggests there is local transmission of this infectious disease in the country. All cases are classified as severe as per the World Health Organisation (WHO) definition, requiring hospitalisation.

“Men who have sex with men have been identified as a key population that is at risk based on our research,” he added.

Dr Fabio Scano from the WHO said the organisation is working closely with the department to find a treatment for Mpox.

“We are working on getting the drugs available to the patients as soon as possible,” said Scano.

“Ten dozes have been packed and are waiting for shipment from Geneva to here. So, we are working with the team to ensure that the paperwork is done.”

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