African National Congress Natal branch communications manager Raleb Majadele addresses a meeting in East London on Friday. Photograph: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters
South African officials say the party has seen no evidence of the violence being spread by the Omicron variant of Mpumalanga’s yellow fever virus, despite the virus’s rapidly increasing transmission in the province.
This is according to Raleb Majadele, the spokesperson for the provincial leadership of the African National Congress (ANC), who said at a press conference on Friday, that the case was a concern.
However, while Majadele commended the Public Health Institute of Southern Africa for effectively combating the outbreak, which has spread to Benoni, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay, he said there were no red flags.
He added that the highest risk zones from the Omicron variant in Johannesburg and Tshwane had now been reduced to the rural interior of the province, which had less than 40% of the province’s population.
In the ENA – the East London and neighbouring areas in Natal – there are seven confirmed cases, and one confirmed case is being investigated in Nkandla.
Majadele said local political leaders should use all available channels to inform and persuade the community about the importance of reporting any suspected cases to their nearest medical facility.
He said: “The Public Health Institute has to be commended for the rapid turnaround and effective response to assist in the combat against the outbreak in all affected provinces. I urge political leaders in the affected provinces to continue utilising their legal powers to communicate with the community and engage with all relevant authorities on the case of disease.”
The outbreak of the yellow fever virus in the country has also been shown to be closely related to the outbreak of the Zika virus in 2016.
The World Health Organisation says that the latest confirmed cases in Benoni also reported the presence of six or seven suspected cases and another one confirmed in Nkandla.
Zika is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. It was initially suspected that it was also the cause of Zika fever, but the link was later proven, and yellow fever was added to the list of diseases with suspected Zika-like characteristics.
WHO says both the mosquito-borne outbreaks of Zika and yellow fever are becoming increasingly common in parts of Africa and South America.