The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) says while the risk of monkeypox to the general South African public is considered low, healthcare workers should be on high alert and maintain a high index of suspicion for any individuals presenting symptoms of the disease
The NICD provided an update on the monkeypox outbreak in the country.
It says from the 22 June 2022 to 2 August, there have been three unlinked laboratory-confirmed monkeypox cases reported in South Africa, with no deaths.
“The cases were reported from Gauteng (n = 1), Western Cape (n = 1) and Limpopo (n = 1) Provinces and are males aged 30, 32 and 42 years, respectively.”
The NICD says there have been no secondary cases linked to the three confirmed cases reported.
“No new laboratory-confirmed case has been reported since the last case reported on 10 July 2022 in Limpopo province.”
“From 25 May to 2 August 2022, the Nicd conducted 276 monkeypox laboratory tests (PCR) from individuals suspected of monkeypox disease within South Africa (n=170) and other African countries (n=106). Full genetic sequencing for the cases from Gauteng and Western Cape was conducted,” it said.
Since January 2022 and up to 02 August 2022, 23 351 laboratory-confirmed monkeypox cases and eight deaths have been reported from 83 countries across all six WHO Regions.
The NICD says the eight monkeypox-associated deaths reported include three deaths that occurred outside of the Central and West Africa, where monkeypox is usually found.
“Five deaths were reported in the Africa Region (three in Nigeria and two in Central African Republic), two in the European Region (Spain) and one in the Regions of the Americas (Brazil).
The NICD adds that in the ongoing 2022 multi-country monkeypox outbreak, men aged between 18 – 44 years and those who self-identify as men who have sex with men (MSM) and have reported recent sexual activities with one or multiple partners continue to be disproportionately affected.
On 23 July 2022, the WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus declared the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) and issued temporary recommendations for countries in order to stop transmission and containing the outbreak.