South Africa reports second mpox death this week

A second person has died in South Africa this week from the viral infection mpox, says the health ministry, less than 24 hours after it announced the first death.

Previously known as monkeypox, mpox is a viral illness transmitted through close contact with infected humans or animals, as well as via materials such as contaminated sheets.

In July 2022, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global health emergency, which lasted for 10 months.

On Thursday, South Africa’s government said the second person who died was a 38-year-old man.

He was admitted to a hospital in the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) province with extensive lesions, headache, fatigue, oral ulcers, muscle pain and a sore throat. He tested positive for mpox on Wednesday.

“The patient has unfortunately demised in KZN the same day his test results came back positive,” spokesperson for the national health department Foster Mohale said.

The total number of laboratory-confirmed mpox cases stands at six in the country, with two deaths since the first case was recorded five weeks ago.

On Wednesday, Health Minister Joe Phaahla had announced the first death, and four more infections.

“One death is too many, especially from a preventable and manageable disease,” Phaahla said, urging those with suspected symptoms to seek medical attention and help trace contacts.

The six cases were the first recorded in the country since 2022.

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