First Case of Monkeypox Confirmed in South Africa, Not Linked to Travel

JOHANNESBURG– South Africa’s Health Minister Joe Phaahla said on Thursday that he had been notified by the country’s laboratory services that they had confirmed the first monkeypox case in South Africa.

The a 30-year-old male patient from Johannesburg had no travel history, “meaning that this cannot be attributed to having been acquired outside South Africa,” Phaahla told a news conference.
Contact tracing was under way, he added.
Monkeypox is a viral disease that causes flu-like symptoms and skin lesions. It is endemic in parts of Africa, but not South Africa.
The World Health Organization will decide on Thursday whether to declare monkeypox a global health emergency.
That has stirred criticism from some leading African scientists who say it has been a crisis for some African countries for years.
Monkeypox is a viral infection that lasts between 2-3 weeks, and symptoms usually resolve on their own without treatment. Below is more information for patients, caregivers, travelers, and health workers.

1️⃣ A patient with suspected monkeypox should:
🔵Seek medical advice for investigation and testing
🔵If confirmed, self-isolate

2️⃣ Caregivers for a person with monkeypox symptoms are advised to:
🔵Avoid direct skin contact
🔵Wear a mask
🔵Use disposable gloves
🔵Clean hands regularly
🔵Encourage patient to cover lesion

3️⃣ Contact tracing should be initiated as soon as a case is identified
🔵A contact who develops symptoms should be isolated and watched for 21 days
🔵Initial symptoms: fever, headache, lack of energy, swollen lymph nodes
🔵1-3 days from onset: skin eruption begins
🔵2-3 weeks: symptoms resolve on their own

4️⃣ Monkeypox vs Smallpox
🔵Smallpox was eradicated in 1980, while monkeypox still occurs
🔵Previous vaccination against smallpox has demonstrated to be effective against monkeypox
🔵A newer vaccine was approved for the prevention of monkeypox and smallpox in 2019, but availability remains limited

5️⃣ If you’re travelling to a country where monkeypox is an endemic disease
🔵Report illness during travel or upon return
🔵Avoid contact with sick persons or sick animals
🔵Refrain from eating or handling wild game
🔵WHO does not recommend any restrictions for travel or trade based on the currently available information
6️⃣ Treatment – there is no specific treatment as symptoms usually resolve on their own. Instead, symptoms can be alleviated or managed by:
🔵washing skin lesions with soap or iodine solution
🔵refer to doctor for prescription if secondary skin infections occur
🔵prevent possible scarring and visual impairment with protective eye pads, and refer to a doctor before applying any medications
🔵wash mouth with clean salted water to minimize pain from mouth sores

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