HealthSouth Africa

South African Health Authorities Report Country’s First Monkey Pox Case

The South African health authorities on Thursday reported the country’s first case of monkeypox, adding its name to the list of some 40 other countries that have identified patients with the disease, reported Reuters.

“The patient is a 30-year-old male from Johannesburg who has no travel history, meaning that this cannot be attributed to having been acquired outside South Africa,” Health Minister Joe Phaahla said during a news conference.

Mr. Phaahla said the relevant authorities have already begun the process of contact tracing. As per South African health authorities, there’s no travel history for this particular case, which means that the disease was acquired locally.

As more than 3,200 confirmed monkeypox cases and one death were reported globally so far.

Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) said that Europe remained the epicenter of the global monkeypox outbreak.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus described the recent monkeypox epidemic as “unusual and concerning.” He called on member countries to share information on the virus as it would help the agency in its goal to support countries to contain transmission.

The WHO is due to hold an emergency meeting on Thursday to determine whether to classify the global monkeypox outbreak as a public health emergency of international concern.

Declaring monkeypox to be a global emergency would mean the UN health body considers the outbreak to be an “extraordinary event” and that the disease is at risk of spreading across even more borders. It would also give monkeypox the same distinction as the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing effort to eradicate polio.

The WHO is not expected to announce any decisions made by its emergency committee before Friday.

In related news, the South African government repealed COVID-19 regulations requiring face masks, restrictions on gatherings and checks at borders on Wednesday. The decision was taken as the country reported a decline in the number of new daily COVID-19 cases, hospitalization and reported deaths.

Caroline Finnegan

A professionnal journalist for the past ten years, I cover global news and economic affairs for The Chief Observer.

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