Health department to source vaccines from WHO member countries as SA records first Mpox death

4
Health department to source vaccines from WHO member countries as SA records first Mpox death
Health department to source vaccines from WHO member countries as SA records first Mpox death

Africa-Press – South-Africa. The health department is considering Mpox vaccines for pre- and post-exposure administration for high-risk groups as South Africa recorded its first Mpox fatality. Health minister Joe Phaahla said the department is considering which population groups should be targeted.

South Africa is trying to source vaccines from World Health Organisation (WHO) member countries that have stockpiles that exceed their needs and from international vaccine organisation Gavi.

The National Advisory Group for Immunisation has said it is considering Mpox vaccines for pre- and post-exposure administration for high-risk groups, including but not limited to sex workers, men who have sex with men (MSM), healthcare workers and laboratory workers.

Phaahla addressed media on Wednesday about the outbreak of Mpox and efforts to curb its spread.

He said the most important intervention remains risk communication and community engagement which is being implemented, including addressing high-risk populations without discriminating, to avoid stigma.

“We are also reaching out to organisations working with the HIV programmes and key populations such as the MSM to reach their members as they fall under the category of people at risk.

“On the stigma issue, that’s a matter we are trying to manage carefully so as not to worsen it.

“It is important to mention people at risk so those who are part of populations at risk should not hesitate [to get help], especially when they experience symptoms,” he said.

South Africa has recorded five laboratory-confirmed cases and one fatality in Gauteng.

All patients are males aged between 30 and 39 without a travel history to countries experiencing an outbreak, which suggests there is local transmission of Mpox in South Africa.

“All five cases were classified severe as per the WHO definition requiring hospitalisation. The cases have comorbidities and have been identified as [a] key population [MSM],” he said.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) is carrying out epidemiological and surveillance activities to identify cases for investigation to estimate the magnitude of the disease through systematic data collection and analysis.

Phaahla said 38 contacts were identified in KwaZulu-Natal by the outbreak response teams. This includes 16 household contacts, 10 hospital contacts, five partners/sexual partners and seven friends.

One of the cases indicated to have had sexual contact with multiple partners, men and women.

“Regarding the case notified on May 8 in Gauteng, seven contacts have been followed up for 21 days and none showed any signs or symptoms of Mpox.”

With the case notified on June 7, the list of identified contacts was developed and they will be monitored for symptoms for 21 days.

The provinces have been reporting cases that meet the definition of suspected Mpox to the Notifiable Medical Condition (NMC) System.

The outbreak response team comprising experts from the health department, provinces, NICD, WHO and other stakeholders in the health sector have started contact tracing and case finding in affected provinces.

“You will remember the name of the disease was changed from monkeypox to Mpox. Just in the name already, there is a negative connotation, but we ask the press to assist in drawing down the stigma, it is just a distractive behaviour,” the NICD’s Dr Jacqueline Weyer said.

For More News And Analysis About South-Africa Follow Africa-Press

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here