Lockdown over Mpox? Health officials provide clarity

In light of the rising Mpox cases, the Department of Health has confirmed that there is no need for a lockdown. This announcement follows the recent death of a 40-year-old man from Ladysmith, KwaZulu-Natal, who had tested positive for Mpox but was never admitted to the hospital. This death marks the third fatality linked to the disease, with two in KwaZulu-Natal and one in Gauteng.

No travel history for Mpox infected patients

Department spokesperson Foster Mohale highlighted that none of the patients had any international travel history. To curb the spread of the disease, the Department has initiated a health education campaign with funeral parlours on handling human remains of those who have succumbed to Mpox. Mohale sought to alleviate public fears regarding potential travel restrictions or lockdowns, pointing out that the World Health Organization has not recommended such measures.

“It is important for travellers from Mpox endemic countries to seek healthcare if they feel unwell and to inform health officials about their travel history for proper clinical guidance,” Mohale emphasised.

Border Management Authority tightens measures

In response to the rise in Mpox cases, the Border Management Authority (BMA) has announced stringent measures at all ports of entry. To fortify the country’s defences, additional health officers have been deployed to key entry points. BMA spokesperson Mmemme Mogotsi detailed the procedures being implemented to detect and manage potential Mpox cases.

“We are diligently checking temperatures and screening for symptoms beyond fever at ports of entry,” Mogotsi stated.

She underscored that the Department of Health provides the guidance on how to manage both outgoing and incoming passengers.

Furthermore, to support these measures, designated isolation rooms have been set up for individuals displaying symptoms, ensuring they receive immediate attention and reducing the risk of transmission.

New Treatment and Precautionary Measures

Last week, the government received a batch of Tecovirimat (also known as TPOXX or ST-246), a treatment specifically for patients experiencing severe health complications from Mpox. This addition to the healthcare arsenal aims to provide better treatment options and mitigate the impact of the disease on affected individuals.

Additionally, with a total of 16 confirmed positive cases to date, health authorities are working tirelessly to control the outbreak and prevent further spread.

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