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  • 14 Jul, 2024

South Africa registers its second measles-related death this week.

South Africa registers its second measles-related death this week.

In the initial four months of 2024, over 97,000 cases and 186 fatalities were documented across 117 nations.

The health ministry of South Africa has confirmed a second death from the viral infection mpox this week, occurring less than 24 hours after the announcement of the first fatality.

Formerly known as monkeypox, mpox is a viral disease transmitted through close contact with infected humans or animals, as well as contaminated materials such as sheets.

In July 2022, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global health emergency due to mpox, which lasted for 10 months.

On Thursday, the South African government disclosed that the latest victim was a 38-year-old man from the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) province. He had been admitted to a hospital with severe symptoms including lesions, headache, fatigue, oral ulcers, muscle pain, and a sore throat. His positive mpox test results were received on Wednesday, and unfortunately, he passed away the same day.

Foster Mohale, spokesperson for the national health department, provided this information, revealing that the total number of laboratory-confirmed mpox cases in the country now stands at six, with two fatalities since the first case emerged five weeks ago.

Health Minister Joe Phaahla, who had announced the first death and four additional infections on Wednesday, expressed deep concern, emphasizing the preventable and manageable nature of the disease. He urged individuals with suspected symptoms to seek medical attention promptly and assist in contact tracing efforts.

The six cases mark the first occurrences of mpox in South Africa since 2022. Mpox spreads primarily through close physical contact and can be severe, even fatal.

Symptoms include painful and scarring lesions, predominantly on the face, anus, and genitals, along with a skin rash, fever, headache, muscle aches, and swollen lymph nodes.

Initially discovered in humans in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, mpox has been largely confined to certain West and Central African countries.

The WHO reported over 97,000 cases and 186 deaths across 117 countries in the first four months of 2024, underscoring the global impact of the disease.

Minister Phaahla stated that all recent mpox cases in South Africa involved men in their 30s and were classified as severe. He emphasized the government's efforts to secure a stockpile of Tecovirimat treatment for potential rapid deployment in case of a broader outbreak.