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By Marizka Coetzer

Journalist


Experts: Mpox rise ‘won’t lead to travel restrictions’ unless WHO advises it

Medical experts reassure the public amid rising mpox cases, urging vigilance but not panic over demonstration of symptoms.


Medical experts say there is no reason to panic yet, although the mpox infection rate has risen to 16 and the death toll to three.

The department of health would like to allay fears of possible travel restrictions or lockdowns due to the mpox outbreak, spokesperson Foster Mohale said.

“The World Health Organisation has not recommended any travel restrictions. “However, it is important for travellers from mpox endemic countries to seek health care if they are ill and to alert health officials about their travel for clinical guidance.”

Mpox number rises

Mohale has confirmed three more positive cases of mpox and one death.

“The latest cases include a 40-year-old male from Ladysmith in KwaZulu-Natal, who presented with mpox-like symptoms, including a rash all over his body that never presented in hospital. He died at home and the results came back positive for mpox on Sunday.

“The other two cases were confirmed in Gauteng, including a 43-year-old man who was diagnosed on Saturday at a local private health facility in Johannesburg, and a 29-year-old male, diagnosed in Mamelodi health facility on Friday,” Mohale said.

These cases had no international travel history. “This brings the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases of mpox to 16 since the outbreak of the disease in May.

ALSO READ: Third Mpox death recorded, cases rise to 16

“Eight cases are from KwaZulu-Natal, seven cases from Gauteng and one from Western Cape.

“All the patients are males, aged between 23 and 43 years old.

“The number of mpox-related deaths has also increased to three,” he said.

Mohale said the department was working with provinces and other stakeholders in the sector and has embarked on health education with funeral parlours on how to handle the human remains of those who died due to suspected and confirmed mpox.

Medical expert Dr Angelique Coetzee said there was no reason for the average person to worry regarding mpox.

“We have seen that all the cases reported were among men between 23 years old and 43 years old.

“We also know that people who get severe mpox were people who are immune compromised.

ALSO READ: South Africa receives first batch of Mpox treatment amid rising cases

“It is especially prevalent in people who are old or already on antiviral treatment with cd4 counts of less than 200.

“That group of people are urged to make sure they get treatment, comply with treatment and get their cd4 count up with treatment,” she said.

Coetzee also urged people with immune-compromised diseases to make sure their sexual partners don’t have any skin rashes.

“Get any rashes checked out as a precaution. Rather be safe than sorry,” Coetzee said.

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