Health professionals have called on South Africans not to resort to bigotry around monkeypox after the first case of the disease was confirmed in a 30-year-old man in Johannesburg, reports News24.

The man has no history of international travel, according to Health Minister Joe Phaahla.

'The disease only spreads through close droplets, so you cannot get it by being in the same room with an infected person. Thus far, it has been dominant in men who have sex with men, but the main feature is that transmission is through close contact,' he said.

Professor Kolela Mlisana, who co-chairs the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Covid-19, said all people were susceptible to infection.

'It does not mean it gets transmitted through men who sleep with men, but any direct contact. We are seeing this trend because that is probably how it got introduced in countries outside Africa. The important thing is that we are able to diagnose it, and it is going to be important to contact trace. Right now, it is one case and up to us, as lab people, to be on high alert.'

The NICD warned against stigmatising gay people or men who sleep with men.

'Please be aware that the information shared about monkeypox was to provide epidemiological context for the current multi-national outbreak. It was by no means to profile any members of society. We would like to stress that any persons, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation, can acquire monkeypox – if they have had close contact with someone infected with the virus.'

Full News24 report