Monkeypox: Here's what we know about the spread of the disease in SA, so far

Sara-Jayne King spoke to Professor Adrian Puren - executive director of the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD).

  • Two confirmed cases in SA, one in Gauteng and the other in the Western Cape

  • There are 5 000 cases detected in about 50 countries around the world

FILE: A man with a blistering monkeypox rash. Picture: © halfpoint/123rf.com

Western Cape health authorities have for called for calm after a second case of monkeypox was detected in South Africa earlier this week.

The Western Cape Department of Health and Wellness confirmed that a case of monkeypox was detected in Cape Town, following lab testing on 27th June 2022.

In South Africa, monkeypox is currently monitored by the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) and local cases are followed up by local contact-tracing teams.

Speaking to Sara-Jayne King, NICD's executive director, Professor Adrian Puren said there is no need for panic.

The risks are probably mild to low, especially in South Africa...the virus is not highly transmissible.

Professor Adrian Puren, executive director of the National Institute of Communicable Diseases

It is a mild disease, in most instances. There's no concerns around hospitalisations, unless the individuals are immune compromised, or in children under the age of 8 where you can have more of a severe outcome.

Professor Adrian Puren, executive director of the National Institute of Communicable Diseases

Gauteng and Western Cape health departments have obviously initiated the contact tracing, where that be forward or backward tracing to try and locate contacts.

Professor Adrian Puren, executive director of the National Institute of Communicable Diseases

In other parts of the world, the U.K. has reported more than 1000 monkeypox cases, the most in Europe with Germany, Spain, Portugal, and France also reporting several hundred cases.

The symptoms associated with the disease include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, chills and exhaustion. This is followed by skin lesions or a blister-like rash, often on the face, feet and/or hands.

Members of the public who experience symptoms similar to monkeypox are urged to report to their nearest healthcare facility or health worker for diagnosis and treatment.

Health authorities insist it is not a highly contagious or easily transferable disease, as it needs close contact to be transferred.

The World Health Organization, at this time has not called it a public emergency of interest. The WHO says it will reassess in terms of the nature and spread of the virus.

Professor Adrian Puren, executive director of the National Institute of Communicable Diseases

Listen to the audio for more.

More in Multimedia