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Shock as Mzansi identifies its first Monkeypox case

SA has identified its first case of monkeypox, health minister Joe Phaahla announced on Thursday morning.

The patient is a 30-year-old male from Johannesburg with no travel history, and contact tracing is under way to identify any linked cases, he said.

The case was confirmed on Wednesday, according to the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD), a division of the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS).

“Monkeypox is usually a mild disease, and self-limiting,” said the minister, emphasising that the viral illness was spread by close contact with an infected person.

The world is confronting its first multi-country outbreak of monkeypox, which has since May 2022 been reported in more than 3,000 people from several European countries, the US, Canada, Australia, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), according to the NICD.

“The cases to date mostly involve individuals that self-identify as men having sx with men. Risk factors include reporting multiple sxual partners. Recent large social events are thought to have served as super spreader events,” it said.

NHLS executive director Koleka Mlisana said the laboratory service was on high alert to any further cases.