South Africa: Health Department Works With WHO to Assess Risk of Spreading Monkeypox

The Department of Health and the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) is collaborating with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to assess the risk for local transmission of Monkeypox.

According to the Cabinet statement on Monday, this is done in line with the International Health Regulations (IHR), a legally binding agreement of 196 countries to build the capability to detect and report potential public health emergencies worldwide.

On Thursday, Cabinet said it was updated on the latest developments in the spread of Monkeypox disease in the country following the recent confirmation of a second case.

“The affected persons are isolated at home and contact tracing is being conducted to detect others who may have been exposed.”

According to the statement, the virus is not easily spread and usually only occurs after close contact such as kissing, cuddling or touching parts of the body with Monkeypox lesions.

“People without Monkeypox symptoms cannot spread the virus to others.”

Cabinet advised people who experience symptoms of fever, general flu-like signs, followed by a blister-like rash to report to their nearest healthcare facility for early detection and treatment.

Last week, the WHO announced its plan to reconvene the Emergency Committee on Monkeypox under the IHR as infections continue to soar globally.

In June, the WHO’s Emergency Committee resolved by consensus the outbreak does not constitute a global public health emergency at this stage.

However, addressing the media on Wednesday last week, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said he remains concerned by the scale and spread of the virus.

Ghebreyesus announced that more than 6 000 cases are recorded in 58 countries.

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