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WorldSouth Africa records second death from mpox

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South Africa records second death from mpox

South Africa’s health minister, Joe Phaahla, has announced a second death from monkey pox (mpox) less than 24 hours after the country reported its first fatality from the virus.

The deceased men, aged 37 and 38, tested positive for the virus, according to Mr. Phaahla.

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Mr. Phaahla further disclosed that South Africa has recorded six cases of mpox this year: two in Gauteng and four in KwaZulu-Natal.

All cases were severe, requiring hospitalisation, and involved men aged between 30 and 39 who had not traveled to countries experiencing outbreaks, indicating local transmission of the disease.

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Mpox, previously known as monkeypox, is a viral infection spread through close contact.

Symptoms typically start with fever, headaches, swellings, back pain, and muscle aches, which may progress to a rash.

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While the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared a public health emergency during a 2022 outbreak, reporting has shown continued low levels of cases in certain countries even after the emergency was lifted last year.

“One death is too many, especially from a preventable and manageable disease,” Mr Phaahla said on Wednesday, urging those with suspected symptoms to seek medical attention and help trace contacts.

According to Mr. Phaahla, the six patients diagnosed with mpox since the beginning of May had pre-existing immunodeficiencies.

The virus has been documented in over 100 countries since 2022.

Of those infected, two have been discharged home, while two are still hospitalised. Close contacts of the deceased individuals will undergo a 21-day monitoring period.

The first human case of mpox was reported in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1970, where the disease continues to be endemic, as stated by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

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