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11 July UPDATE: SA now has 22 mpox cases — up from 20 on 4 July. 3 have died

This is a developing story. We update the copy, map, timeline and press releases each time the health department announces new cases.

On Thursday, 11 July, the health department announced that South Africa had recorded two more laboratory-confirmed mpox cases, bringing the total number of cases for 2024 up to 22. Three of the cases had died.

The country’s first case was reported on 8 May.

By 4 July, six of South Africa’s cases remained in hospital and 11 had fully recovered. Of the six hospitalisations, one was a re-admission. All confirmed mpox cases are men between the ages of 17 and 43, from Gauteng (10 cases), KwaZulu-Natal (11 cases) and the Western Cape (one case).

The cases who were still in hospital, all also had other, mostly untreated, conditions such as HIV infection.

The health department says South Africa’s is “on high alert for a possible surge” in mpox cases.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) had tested 130 people for mpox by 4 July.

LISTEN: Mia Malan speaks to the NICD about the mpox outbreak

Mpox cases have been reported in 118 countries in the past two years, says the NICD. By May this year, there had been 95 912 cases across the world

Analyses (from three cases by 12 June) showed that the specific type of the monkeypox virus (called a clade) that’s spreading in South Africa is the same one (clade 2b) as the type that caused outbreaks in Western Europe and the United Kingdom, the health department says.

The South African health department will start to vaccinate four groups of people — men who have sex with men, sex workers, health and lab workers — against the monkeypox virus as soon as jabs arrive in the country.

The first batch of TPOXX treatment, pills that contain the antiviral drug tecovirimat, has arrived in South Africa, the health department announced on 20 June. On 4 July the department said it expected another batch of treatment to arrive “within the next few weeks”.

We’ve put graphics, press releases and other content on the mpox outbreak together here so that you can track how the outbreak has unfolded — and see any updates when something changes.

Mpox in South Africa: 8 May to 4 July 2024

Mpox cases in South Africa

Use the interactive map to see the details.

Timeline of health department announcements

13 May 2024: The health department asked for “public vigilance” about mpox after the first case was diagnosed on 8 May. Read the press release.

27 May 2024: The second case, a 39-year-old man from KwaZulu-Natal, is reported. Read the press release.

5 June 2024: Two more cases are reported, both from KwaZulu-Natal. Read the press release.

11 June 2024: The health department announces a press briefing to be held on 12 June. Here’s the notice.

12 June 2024: At a press briefing on 12 June, the health department announces a fifth case, who had died on 10 June. This was the first death recorded in this outbreak.

At the briefing the health minister, Joe Phaahla, and experts from the NICD and the World Health Organisation answered questions about the outbreak. Read Phaahla’s speech here. We also posted a thread afterwards.

13 June 2024: An announcement of the sixth case, reported from KwaZulu-Natal on 12 June, was made. The patient passed away the same day as the diagnosis was confirmed. Read the press release.

14 June 2024: 

  • The African Centres for Disease Control and Prevention earlier announced that all seven cases in South Africa were classified as severe and required hospitalisation. “All cases are male, between the ages of 30 and 39 with co-morbidities (HIV positive), and five of the seven identified as “men who have sex with men,” they said. Read the press release here.

20 June 2024: Six more cases are announced, three from KwaZulu-Natal and three from Gauteng. Read the press release.

25 June 2024: Three more mpox cases, of which one person died are announced. Two of the cases are from Gauteng (Johannesburg, Mamelodi) and one from KwaZulu-Natal (Ladysmith). The person who died was the case from KwaZulu-Natal — a 40-year-old male. Read the press release.

4 July 2024: Four more mpox cases are announced. Three of the cases are from Gauteng (The West Rand and Hillbrow in Johannesburg and a case from East Pretoria) and one from KwaZulu-Natal (in Durban). Read the press release.

11 July 2024: Two more mpox cases are announced — two cases from KwaZulu-Natal; one who was diagnosed in Durban (but is from Johannesburg and traveled to Durban over the weekend) and one from Nqutu. Read the press release.

More coverage

Want to know more about mpox and the South African outbreak? Mia Malan wrote about it and also spoke to Jacqueline Weyer of the National Institute for Communicable Diseases. Read the full podcast transcript.