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Mpox in South Africa

20 June 2024

The Department of Health in South Africa reports a continuing outbreak of mpox in several parts of the country.

Since May 2024, there have been 16 mpox cases, including 3 deaths. Eight cases have been reported in KwaZulu-Natal, 7 in Gauteng, and 1 in Western Cape. The most recent cases have been reported from Ladysmith (23 June 2024), Johannesburg (22 June 2024) and Mamelodi (21 June 2024).

All of the cases are men aged 23 to 43.

Advice to Travellers

Mpox is a zoonotic infection that is rarely seen in travellers from endemic countries.

Transmission between people occurs through close skin to skin contact (including during sexual contact), or through droplet spread during close contact with a person infected with mpox.

Symptoms in people commence with fever, a flu-like illness and swollen glands followed by the development of a blistering skin rash, resembling chickenpox.

Travellers should:

  • observe meticulous hand hygiene if visiting or caring for ill friends and relatives
  • avoid contact with primates and rodents and avoid consuming undercooked meat from these sources
  • wear protective clothing, including gloves, if involved in the slaughter or care of animals in countries where this mpox

Travellers to any destination who may be sexually active during travel (including GBMSM) should:

  • be aware of the risk of mpox
  • practise safe sex
  • avoid close, including sexual contact with someone who is unwell and may have mpox

Travellers should be advised to seek medical help during, or for 21 days after travel if they develop symptoms of mpox and have:

While a vaccine specifically against mpox is not available, the smallpox vaccine provides some protection.

For further information see Mpox, Sexual Health Risks and LGBT travellers