South Africa begins screening travelers for monkeypox

  • World
  • Wednesday, 26 Jun 2024

JOHANNESBURG, June 25 (Xinhua) -- South Africa has started screening visitors into the country for monkeypox at all ports of entry due to a recent increase in cases of the disease, said the Border Management Authority (BMA) on Tuesday.

The commissioner of the BMA, Michael Masiapato, announced that port health officials have developed an outbreak preparedness plan that outlines the response in dealing with monkeypox, also known as Mpox.

"The current response plan has been activated to respond, since 13 cases have been confirmed by the National Department of Health," he said.

According to the commissioner, travelers are subjected to thermal screening for checking temperature at air, land and sea ports of entry. Should the traveler present with an elevated temperature, such traveler will be isolated and assisted with further screening, which will involve interviews to establish experiencing of other symptoms.

BMA port health officer will also conduct their own general and non-invasive observation of the traveler under investigation, he added.

"In any incident, should there be a case presented to the BMA that would need further referral to a health facility, arrangements have been made with ambulance services from the department of health for referral to healthcare facilities," said Masiapato.

He said BMA port health officials have also elevated the focus to be on health education and awareness to travelers.

"We also encourage travelers suspecting any symptoms to seek medical care immediately, especially those who have a travel history to areas with cases of Mpox," added Masiapato.

Mpox is an infectious disease caused by the monkeypox virus. Symptoms include an unexplained acute rash and back pain, swollen lymph nodes, acute onset of fever, headache, muscle and body aches, and low energy.

Last week, South Africa's National Department of Health reported that the total number of Mpox cases in the country had climbed to 13, with seven cases being confirmed in KwaZulu-Natal, five in Gauteng and one in the Western Cape province. There had been two confirmed deaths.

According to the department, South Africa is currently working with the World Health Organization to tackle the Mpox outbreak.

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