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Health Minister Joe Phaahla has announced that the country’s first case of monkeypox has been detected by the national laboratory services.

At a news conference, the minister said the patient is a 30-year-old male from Johannesburg with no travel history.

A process of contact tracing is underway because of the patient not having travelled, so it “cannot be attributed to having been acquired outside South Africa,” Phaahla said.

Monkeypox is a viral disease that causes flu-like symptoms and skin lesions. It is endemic in parts of Africa, but not South Africa. The continent has registered just over 1,500 suspected cases since the start of 2022, of which 66 have been fatal, reports Moneyweb.

The City of Johannesburg’s Deputy Director: Communications and Stakeholder Management, Ewan Botha urged residents of the city to calm down and inform themselves about the facts.

“The current strain of the disease is not considered fatal and sufferers begin to experience symptoms within seven to 14 days of exposure. Anyone with monkeypox must be kept in isolation and anyone who finds they had contact with someone with monkeypox must be traced and isolated too.”

Botha assured people that the virus does not transmit easily and it is important that, as a society, the city remains calm and does not react with the same level of panic as occurred at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Image credit: Rosebank Killarney Gazette

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