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Monkeypox in South Africa; a reality… can be sexually transmitted

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But the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) has confirmed that there are currently no cases of the disease in South Africa.

According to the NICD, about 16 countries have reported positive cases of monkeypox, including Australia, Austria, Sweden, the US, Canada, and the UK, among others. The NICD said four additional laboratory-confirmed cases were reported among sexual health services attendees presenting with a vesicular rash illness in men practicing sex with men.

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“Males accounted for more than 70%, mostly aged between 20-55 years have been detected through sexual health services. Most cases are mild and present with lesions on the genitalia or peri-genital areas.

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Additional symptoms include rash, fever, painful lymph nodes, and oral ulcers,” said the NICD in a statement.

NICD executive director, professor Adrian Puren, said the implications for South Africa are that the risk of importation of monkeypox is a reality as lessons learned from Covid-19 have illustrated that outbreaks in other parts of the world can fast become a global concern.

Puren further said residents and travelers to countries affected in the current outbreak should report any illness to a healthcare professional and avoid contact with sick animals that could harbor monkeypox virus such as rodents, marsupials, and primates, and should refrain from eating or handling wild game.

“This includes information about all recent travel and attendance of mass gathering events, festivals, and parties, and contact with any known cases. The importance of hand hygiene by using soap and water or alcohol-based sanitizer should be emphasized,” said Puren.

The NICD added that the monkeypox virus is generally a self-limiting illness, and most infected people recover within a few weeks without treatment.

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