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Healthcare News South Africa

1 Mpox fatality, 4 in recovery

Health Minister Joe Phaahla has announced that one of the five Mpox patients in South Africa passed away on Monday, 10 June 2024 at Tembisa Hospital in Gauteng.
Source: Pexels

This follows the confirmation of two cases in Gauteng and three in KwaZulu-Natal.

“In all cases, patients are males aged between 30 to 39 years without travel history to the countries currently experiencing an outbreak, which suggests there is local transmission of this infectious disease in the country,” the minister said.

According to the minister, the deceased was originally from KwaZulu-Natal but has not been at home since December last year.

The minister made these announcements during a media briefing on Wednesday, 12 June 2024, centred on the management of the monkeypox outbreak in the country.

Phaahla stated that all cases were classified as severe cases, as per the World Health Organisation (WHO) definition requiring hospitalisation.

The patients have comorbidities and have been identified as key populations, including men who have sex with men (MSM).

The minister told the media that one of the patients has since been discharged, one is isolating at home, while two are still in hospital.

Phaahla explained that the sequencing analysis of three of the cases revealed Mpox clade IIb, a variant dominant in the multi-country and post-outbreak, which began in 2022.

The last time South Africa recorded positive cases of Mpox was in 2022, when five cases were confirmed in the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and Gauteng, with no cases reported in 2023.

“So, the one in our country is consistent with the multi-country outbreaks in various parts of the world and different from the strain variant in the DRC,” he explained.

Contact tracing

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), the minister said, continues with epidemiological and surveillance activities to identify cases for investigation to estimate the magnitude of disease through systematic data collection and analysis.

He told the media that 38 contacts were identified in KwaZulu-Natal, while one of the patients indicated to have had sexual contact with multiple partners, including both males and females.

Meanwhile, the Outbreak Response Team has embarked on contact tracing and case finding in the affected provinces.

“Encourage people who may know that in one way or another have been associated with someone with the disease - or showing any symptoms of skin lesions or rashes - to approach their nearest health facility.”


Currently, there is no registered treatment for Mpox in South Africa.

However, the Minister said the WHO recommends using Tecovirimat, also known as TPOXX, for treating severe cases, such as in individuals with a CD4 count of less than 350.

He announced that the department has obtained TPOXX via Section 21 South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) approval on a compassionate-use basis for known patients with severe disease.

The minister said they are still looking at obtaining vaccines and considering various options, including who will be the priority target in terms of immunisation.

However, he believes that high-risk groups should be prioritised, including sex workers, MSM, healthcare workers, and laboratory workers.

The department, working together with partner organisations, has intensified both targeted and public awareness to empower the citizens with crucial information related to Mpox.

The minister also emphasised the importance of managing stigma for key populations at risk, while there have been no recommendations for any travel restrictions.

“I think one can safely say that, especially for adults, anybody who develops those kinds of eruptions on their skin, even if you may think it might be chickenpox, even young people, should seek medical attention.”

He said government endeavours to prevent any further deaths.

Phaahla confirmed that SA has already recorded one fatality. He said the patient was quite ill and, despite the availability of the antiviral agent, he was unable to swallow his treatment due to the severity of the sores.

He passed away within a few days.

Source: is a South African government news service, published by the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS). (formerly BuaNews) was established to provide quick and easy access to articles and feature stories aimed at keeping the public informed about the implementation of government mandates.

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