NICD confirms South Africa's first monkeypox case

In a statement released on Thursday, the NICD said the patient was a 30-year-old male from Gauteng with no recent travel history.

Monkeypox belongs to the Poxviridae family of viruses, which includes smallpox. Picture: CDC/Cynthia S. Goldsmith

JOHANNESBURG - The National Institute of Communicable Disease (NICD) has confirmed South Africa’s first monkeypox through lab testing on Wednesday.

In a statement released on Thursday, the NICD said the patient was a 30-year-old male from Gauteng with no recent travel history.

“Contact tracing has commenced, identifying any additional linked cases of monkeypox in South Africa,” the NCID said in a statement.

The NICD said that monkeypox was rarely fatal but severe cases may occur in children, pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems.

“Since May 2022, monkeypox has been reported in more than 3,000 individuals from several European countries, the USA, Canada, Australia, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates.

“This is the first multi-country outbreak of monkeypox and is already the largest outbreak of monkeypox recorded ... Risk factors include reporting multiple sexual partners. Recent large social events are thought to have served as super spreader events.”

Earlier this month, the World Health Organization said 780 lab-confirmed monkeypox cases had been reported to it from 27 non-endemic countries, while maintaining that the global risk level was moderate. The WHO listed the countries reporting the most cases as Britain (207), Spain (156), Portugal (138), Canada (58) and Germany (57).

The symptoms of the virus include acute illness characterised by fever and general flu-like symptoms, followed by the eruption of a blister-like rash on the skin.

“The disease is rarely fatal and cases typically resolve within two to four weeks. Most cases do not require hospital treatment. Prevention of infection hinges on the isolation of cases until fully recovered. The risk to the general population is considered low, given the low transmissibility of the virus,” the NICD said.