Health department warns public about increasing MPox and Flu cases



Published May 27, 2024


South Africa has recorded a second laboratory-confirmed case of Mpox after a KwaZulu-Natal man tested positive for the infectious disease.

The Department of Health announced on Monday that a 39-year-old man was admitted at Addington Hospital in Durban without a travel history to countries and regions currently experiencing the outbreak of the disease.

“The department, working closely with the province and the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) has activated contract tracing and case finding to identify and assess people who have been in contact with the patient to prevent further transmission, especially at a household and community level,” said Health Department spokesperson Foster Mohale.

This is expected to also assist to establish if the second case was in contact with the first case confirmed in Gauteng earlier this month.

Mohale urged the public and communities to support those who tested positive for Mpox to take treatment and those with suspected symptoms to go for screening and testing.

“Stigma and discrimination may prolong a disease outbreak by stopping people from coming forward for information or seeking testing or care, which undermines public health efforts,” he said.

The country is also experiencing the annual influenza season which started in the week of April 22, and a number of flu strains are circulating, causing severe health complications in some patients.

According to the department this has been confused with a Covid-19 variant which has been in circulation with low levels of transmissibility and severity.

“The most commonly detected and circulating influenza subtype and lineage are A(H1N1) pdm09 previously known as ‘swine flu’ because it was causing disease in pigs, followed by influenza B/Victoria and influenza A(H3N2).

“This is not unusual as influenza A(H1N1) pdm09 has been circulating each season as one of the annual seasonal influenza strains since 2010. Influenza A virus is more severe in adults,” Mohale said.

Influenza may cause severe illness leading to hospitalisation or possibly death, especially among those who are at risk of severe influenza illness or complications.

Cape Times