GeneralHealth & Education

Gauteng Records First Death from Mpox as South Africa Confirms Outbreak

South Africa’s Department of Health has confirmed an outbreak of Mpox, previously known as monkeypox, with five severe cases reported. Gauteng has recorded the first death, prompting the health department to intensify efforts in raising awareness and managing the outbreak. South Africa is facing a new health challenge with the recent confirmation of Mpox cases, previously known as monkeypox. The Department of Health reported that five individuals have tested positive for Mpox, with one patient succumbing to the disease. Health Minister Dr. Joe Phaahla provided details during a media briefing on Wednesday, highlighting the severity and local transmission of this infectious disease.

First Death and Current Cases

The first Mpox-related death occurred in Gauteng. The patient, a man, died at Tembisa Hospital on Monday, June 10. Dr. Phaahla revealed that of the five confirmed cases, two are from Gauteng and three from KwaZulu-Natal. The deceased was among the Gauteng cases. Currently, four other patients remain under treatment:

  • One patient has been discharged.
  • Another patient has been discharged for home isolation with ongoing follow-ups.
  • Two patients are still hospitalized.

Local Transmission and Patient Demographics

All the confirmed cases are males aged between 30 and 39 years. Notably, none of the patients have a recent travel history to countries experiencing Mpox outbreaks, indicating local transmission. Dr. Phaahla emphasized the significance of this finding as it suggests that the virus is spreading within South Africa.

Disease Severity and Comorbidities

According to World Health Organization (WHO) standards, all five Mpox cases in South Africa are classified as severe, necessitating hospitalization. The patients also have underlying health conditions and are identified as part of key populations, specifically Men who have Sex with Men (MSM). The Department of Health is collaborating with HIV programs and organizations working with key populations to raise awareness and implement targeted communication strategies about the Mpox outbreak.

Treatment and Vaccination Efforts

Currently, there is no registered treatment for Mpox in South Africa. However, the WHO recommends the use of Tecovirimat (TPOXX) for severe cases, especially for individuals with compromised immune systems, such as those with a CD4 count of less than 350. The Department of Health has secured Tecovirimat through Section 21 approval from the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority on a compassionate use basis for the five known severe cases.

Efforts are also underway to source vaccines from WHO member countries that have stockpiles. Although the WHO has not recommended any travel restrictions, travelers to and from endemic countries are advised to inform health officials to ensure proper guidance for case detection and management.


The confirmation of Mpox in South Africa, coupled with the first recorded death, underscores the need for vigilance and prompt action. The Department of Health is mobilizing resources and working with various stakeholders to manage the outbreak and prevent further transmission. Public awareness and targeted communication are crucial in addressing this health crisis effectively.

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