South Africa

Mpox- Here are symptoms you should look out for

In some concerning news, the Minister of Health, Dr Joe Phaahla, announced another laboratory-confirmed case of Mpox and a second death linked to the disease.

This is just less than 24 hours after he provided an update on the government’s efforts to curb the spread of this infectious disease.

Also read: Gauteng faces rising Mpox crisis with two new cases and one fatality

The latest case/patient is a 38-year-old man who was admitted to a local hospital in uMgungundlovu, KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) and tested positive for Mpox on Wednesday.

The man presented with extensive lesions, lymphadenopathy, headache, fatigue, oral ulcers, muscle pain and sore throat.

“The man has unfortunately demised in KZN the same day his test results came back positive. This brings the total number of positive cases in the country from five to six and two deaths within five weeks.”

Phaahla said the man was living with HIV, and he listed his residential address as Brakpan, Gauteng.

“The Department is working closely with both Gauteng and KZN Departments of Health to investigate the case. Further updates and reports will be provided once the investigation has been concluded.”

Here are the symptoms that you should out for:

HOW IS MPOX SPREAD?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said anyone can get Mpox. It spreads from contact with infected:

  • persons, through touch, kissing, or sex
  • animals when hunting, skinning, or cooking them
  • materials, such as contaminated sheets, clothes or needles
  • pregnant persons who may pass the virus on to their unborn baby.

Here are the symptoms:

Mpox causes signs and symptoms, which usually begin within a week but can start 1–21 days after exposure. Symptoms typically last 2–4 weeks but may last longer in someone with a weakened immune system.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS THAT YOU SHOULD BE LOOKING OUT FOR?

Common symptoms of mpox are:

  • rash
  • fever
  • sore throat
  • headache
  • muscle aches
  • back pain
  • low energy
  • swollen lymph nodes.

For some people, the first symptom of Mpox is a rash, while others may have different symptoms first.

The WHO said the rash begins as a flat sore, which develops into a blister filled with liquid and may be itchy or painful. As the rash heals, the lesions dry up, crust over and fall off.

WHERE CAN SKIN LESIONS APPEAR?

Some people may have one or a few skin lesions, and others may have hundreds or more. These can appear  anywhere on the body, such as:

  • palms of hands and soles of feet
  • face, mouth and throat
  • groin and genital areas
  • anus.

Some people also have painful swelling of their rectum or pain and difficulty when peeing.

According to the WHO, people with Mpox are infectious and can pass the disease on to others until all sores have healed and a new layer of skin has formed.

Children, pregnant people and people with weak immune systems are at risk for complications from Mpox.

Typically for Mpox, fever, muscle aches and sore throat appear first. The Mpox rash begins on the face and spreads over the body, extending to the palms of the hands and soles of the feet and evolves over 2-4 weeks in stages – macules, papules, vesicles, pustules. Lesions dip in the centre before crusting over.

“Scabs then fall off. Lymphadenopathy (swollen lymph nodes) is a classic feature of mpox. Some people can be infected without developing any symptoms,” the WHO said.

Also read: South Africa is getting an ‘extra’ public holiday next week

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