Call for vigilance and transparency to curb spread of Mpox - 09 June 2024

Department of Health 2024/06/09 - 22:00

The National Department of Health (DoH) continues to appeal to members of the public who have been in close contact with known or suspected patient(s) of Mpox disease (previously named monkeypox) to cooperate with health officials and present at the nearest health facility or healthcare provider without delays for clinical evaluation to ensure early diagnosis and effective treatment if they test positive.

This call comes after the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) informed the department of two more positive cases of Mpox in the past week, both confirmed from local health facilities (Addington and St Augustine Hospitals) in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal. 

The preliminary case finding report revealed that the two recent cases had contact with the other previously confirmed case in the province, and this suggests that there is a local transmission of the disease which could potentially to lead to larger outbreak in the province. This brings the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases in the country to four (three in KwaZulu-Natal and one in Gauteng); all of them are South African males of mid and late 30s.

Mpox virus is transmitted from one person to another by close contact with lesions, sexual contact, body fluids, respiratory droplets and contaminated materials such as bedding. The incubation period of mpox is usually from 6 to 13 days but can range from 5 to 21 days. The health officials rely on transparency and cooperation from cases/patients for contact tracing and case finding in order to determine the rate of transmission of this infectious virus at community level.

"The department would like to applaud the patients whose honesty and courage during the investigation process, assisted officials to trace suspected cases who also tested positive. Thus, it is through transparency of both confirmed and suspected cases that the government can prevent further transmission and avoidable deaths.

"The Department in collaboration with various stakeholders in the sector is intensifying epidemiology and surveillance, and awareness activities. These will also help to address social stigma which contributes to people's decision not to openly speak out because they suspect communities will not accept them due to their health conditions. In most cases, stigma contributes to the spread of the virus thereby making the outbreak and transmission worse," explains acting head of communication Foster Mohale.

Some of the common symptoms of Mpox include a rash which may last for 2–4 weeks, fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, low energy and swollen glands (lymph nodes). The painful rash looks like blisters or sores, and can affect the face, palms of the hands, soles of the feet, groin, genital and/or anal regions.

However, the NDoH has assured the public that there is no need for public to panic as the situation remains under control, and the department will keep the public informed of any development around this area. For more information, visit the National Institute of Communicable Diseases website:


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