South Africa confirms first case of mpox death after five reported infected

South Africa confirms first case of mpox death after five reported infected

South Africa has recorded its first confirmed death from mpox after five confirmed cases of the viral infection were recorded in the past month.

The health ministry announced on Wednesday that a 37-year-old man died from the infection and that four others were receiving treatment.

Joe Phaahla, the health minister told the media that the man died in Tembisa hospital in Gauteng Province on Monday.

“All cases/patients are males aged between 30-39 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 added, according to Africa News.

He said out of the total five recorded in the country, “two of these cases were confirmed in Gauteng and three in KwaZulu-Natal”.

“The death that occurred is amongst the two cases reported in Gauteng,” Mr Phaahla said.

One patient has been discharged, another has been discharged for home isolation and two remain in hospital. The minister said: “One death is too many, especially from a preventable and manageable disease.”

According to the World Health Organisation, Mpox is an infectious disease caused by the monkeypox virus whose symptoms include a painful rash, enlarged lymph nodes, and fever.

The global health agency notes that while most people recover fully, some can become very ill. The virus spreads through contact with infected individuals, animals, materials, and from pregnant persons to their unborn babies.

In May 2022, an outbreak of mpox appeared suddenly and rapidly spread across several countries, with 110 countries reporting about 87 thousand cases and 112 deaths, the WHO website notes.

“The global outbreak has affected primarily (but not only) gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men and has spread person-to-person through sexual networks,” it notes. The global outbreak of mpox was declared a public health emergency of international concern on 23 July 2022, it adds.

In March this year, the Republic of Congo recorded its first cases of mpox in several regions, the health ministry said. At least 43 cases had been reported to the ministry.

WHO adopted the new synonym “mpox” in English for the monkeypox disease in 2022.