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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

Health department confirms second MPox death in SA

The Mpox death comes less than 24 hours after Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla provided an update on government's efforts to curb the disease.

The health department has confirmed that the number of confirmed deaths from the Mpox disease, formerly known as monkeypox, has risen to two in South Africa..

This comes less than 24 hours after Health Minster Dr Joe Phaahla provided an update on government’s efforts to curb the spread of the infectious disease.

Health department spokesperson Foster Mohale said Phaahla has called for more vigilance following the death of the second patient.

Latest case in KZN

The latest patient is a 38-year-old man, who was admitted at a local hospital in uMgungundlovu, KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), and tested positive for Mpox on Wednesday, 12 June 2024. This after presenting with extensive lesions, lymphadenopathy, headache, fatigue, oral ulcers, muscle pain and sore throat .

“The patient has unfortunately demised in KZN, the same day his results came back positive. This brings the total number of positive cases from five to six and two deaths withing a period of five weeks.,” Mohale said.

Mohlale said the patient was living with HIV and listed his residential address as Brakpan in Gauteng.

“The Department is working closely with both Gauteng and KZN Departments of Health to investigate the case. Further updates and reports will be provided once the investigation has been concluded.”

The first death came from Tembisa Hospital, with the severity of that patient’s symptoms leaving them unable to swallow the necessary treatment.

Mpox treatment

Mohale said sequencing results for the first three cases sequence typed as clade ll b, the same as the sub-lineage responsible for the multi-country outbreak which began in 2022 and has since spread to over 100 countries.

“Minister Phaahla reiterates the importance of personal hygiene, timely presenting at the health facility for early diagnosis and effective treatment in case of suspected symptoms and close physical contact with a known case.”

ALSO READ: First Mpox death reported in SA – Vaccines on the way

During a briefing on Wednesday, Phaahla said South Africa had no registered medication specific to Mpox. However, the heath department has obtained emergency use approval for the necessary treatment.

With the assistance of the World Health Organisation (WHO), the health department is also seeking to procure a vaccine that has been developed to combat the virus.

Mpox risk factors

People with compromised immune systems and underlying health conditions are most at risk of severe complications, with officials stating that early treatment is vital.

Mpox is a preventable and treatable disease if diagnosed early. People are urged to avoid physical contact with someone who has Mpox, practice hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette.

Diagnosed patients should, where possible, avoid contact with immunocompromised people, children or pregnant women who may be at higher risk of severe symptoms if exposed.

ALSO READ: ‘Monkeypox outbreak cause for concern’ – Phaahla

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