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[LISTEN] Why people who got the smallpox vaccine are less likely to get monkeypox

  • South Africa’s second monkeypox case was confirmed on Tuesday — a 32-year old man from Cape Town. The first case was confirmed on June 22 and was a male, 30, from Johannesburg. Neither of them have a travel history.
  • The most telling symptom of monkeypox is blisters on your skin and it can take two to four weeks to recover. Most people recover without the need for treatment. The same type of lab test is used to confirm COVID and monkeypox (PCR). But where nasal swabs are taken as samples to test in the case of COVID, swabs from the blisters that form on your skin are used for monkeypox. 
  • Monkeypox is far less infectious than SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). Close contact, such as hugging, kissing or sex, is required for monkeypox transmission. Contaminated materials, such as shared linen or clothes that were in touch with skin lesions of an infected person, can also transmit the virus. 
  • The smallpox vaccine provides 85% protection against infection with monkeypox, but South Africa stopped vaccinating people against smallpox in 1980, so only people of 42 and older who got vaccinated will have that protection.

  • Read the full script here.

Mia Malan is the founder and editor-in-chief of Bhekisisa. She has worked in newsrooms in Johannesburg, Nairobi and Washington, DC, winning more than 30 awards for her radio, print and television work.

Danny Booysen is a freelance audio technical producer and has over 30 years of experience in the broadcast industry.