South Africa’s first mpox fatality amidst five confirmed cases

South Africa’s Health Minister, Joe Phaahla, announced on Wednesday that a 37-year-old man has tragically become the country’s first recorded fatality from mpox, marking a concerning development amidst five laboratory-confirmed cases of the viral infection within the past month.

The deceased passed away at Tembisa Hospital on Monday, as disclosed by Minister Phaahla during a press briefing.

Mpox, a disease characterized by flu-like symptoms and the formation of pus-filled lesions, is known to spread through close contact and, in severe cases, can prove fatal.

Phaahla further revealed that all reported mpox cases in South Africa have been confined to men aged between 30 and 39, none of whom had any recent travel history to regions grappling with mpox outbreaks. This hints at a potential scenario of local transmission of the infectious disease.

Addressing the severity of the situation, Phaahla stated, “All five cases were classified as severe cases, necessitating hospitalization. The affected individuals presented with co-morbidities and have been identified as belonging to key populations, specifically men who have sex with men.”

Among the cases, one patient has been discharged, another has been released for home isolation, while two individuals continue to receive medical care in hospital.

Genomic sequencing of three of the cases revealed the strain mpox clade IIb, which gained global traction starting in 2022.

This news comes amid the Republic of the Congo’s declaration of an mpox epidemic in April, following the recording of 19 cases of the virus. Notably, mpox was first identified in humans in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo in 1970, according to the World Health Organization.

Scroll to Top