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Mpox (Monkeypox)

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South Africa is amongst the countries currently experiencing the outbreak of Mpox, a viral infection which spreads between people and occasionally from the environment to people via objects and surfaces that have been touched by a person with Mpox. Thought to originate from unknown animal reservoirs in East, Central, and West Africa.

Definition:

  • Caused by the monkeypox virus (MPXV), an orthopoxvirus
  • Transmits from person to person through close contact
  • Characterised by sustained human-to-human transmission via direct skin-to-skin and sexual contact; people living with HIV are disproportionately affected.

Testing:

  • All National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) laboratories are referring samples for testing to the NICD that serves as the reference laboratory
  • Private sector laboratories are also testing for Mpox

Treatment:

  • Currently there is no registered treatment for Mpox in South Africa.
  • The World Health Organization recommends the use of Tecovirimat (known as TPOXX) for treatment of severe cases, such as in individuals with a CD4 count of less than 350.
  • This treatment, as sourced by the government department of health and SAPHRA (regulatory body in South Africa), is directed towards individuals who would qualify and based on clinical need.
  • Government is in the process of sourcing the treatment medication and creating a stockpile in the event of the disease spreading widely.

Vaccine

Can be used in specific at-risk populations – sex workers, men-who-have-sex-with-men, healthcare workers and laboratory workers- managed by the National Advisory Group for Immunisation (NAGI) Technical Working Group for Mpox vaccines.

Intervention

  • Risk communication and community engagement (RCCE), which is being implemented.
  • Addressing the high-risk population without discriminating to avoid stigma.
  • Organisations working with the HIV programmes and key populations such as the MSM are being asked to reach their members since they fall under the category of people at risk.

To prevent further spread of this infectious disease, those with suspected symptoms or who were in contact with known cases/patients should present themselves at health care facilities on time for early diagnosis and effective treatment.

Kind regards
KeyHealth Medical Scheme

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