Nangombe urges caution amid Mpox outbreak in SA

WINDHOEK: Ministry of Health and Social Services Executive Director, Ben Nangombe has advised members of the public to exercise caution after cases of monkeypox (Mpox) were reported in South Africa.

Nangombe in an interview with Nampa indicated that although there is no cause for alarm as no Mpox cases have been reported in Namibia, it is cause for concern not only for Namibia, but globally, whenever there is a confirmed outbreak of a disease.

‘The Mpox outbreak in a neighbouring country is a concern because the disease can spread due to international travel. Today it’s in South Africa but the following day it can be across the Atlantic or the pacific, so it is a situation that should be of concern to everyone,’ Nangombe said.

He further indicated that the ministry is closely monitoring the situation in line with World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations in terms of how countries should position themselves in the event of disease outbreak.

‘Given the outbreaks in our neighbourhood, our healthcare wo
rkers are advised to act with a high index of suspicion,’ Nangombe remarked.

He further said the ministry has surveillance systems in place to monitor outbreaks, saying the epidemiology division is primed to monitor and assess potential outbreaks.

‘We do have mechanisms in place that help us to monitor a situation and to be able to respond appropriately in terms of taking the necessary actions. We also have ports of entry officials at our border posts who also monitor the movements of people coming into the country by air, land borders or by sea,’ he stated.

South Africa has reported 16 cases of Mpox since May this year. Two of the cases were confirmed in Gauteng and three in KwaZulu-Natal.

On 26 June, South Africa’s National Department of Health confirmed that the death toll in the ongoing outbreak has risen to three.

Nangombe called on members of the public to continue exercising caution by practicing hand hygiene, wearing masks, practicing cough etiquette and avoiding crowded places.

‘These are lesso
ns we learned from the COVID-19 pandemic,’ the executive director said.

Mpox common symptoms include a skin rash, fever, headache, muscle aches and swollen lymph nodes.

Source: The Namibia Press Agency