Tips to avoid listeriosis according to the World Health Organisation. Graphic Lance Witten Cape Argus
05 December, 2017, 17:46
An outbreak of food-borne listeria bacteria has claimed 36 lives and infected nearly 600 people in South Africa, the health minister said Tuesday, warning that newborns and the elderly are particularly vulnerable.
He told reporters that a total of 557 laboratory-confirmed listeriosis cases had been reported from all provinces since the beginning of the year.
Listeriosis is a serious but rare infection, mainly caused by eating food contaminated with the bacteria listeria monocytogenes which is found in soil, water and vegetation.
A listeria infection may result in flu-like symptoms with diarrhoea, infection of the blood stream and infection of the brain.
"Out of 557 cases, we are certain of the final outcome (discharge or death) for 70 cases".
"Of these 70 cases, 36 persons have perished", said Motsoaledi.
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Listeriosis is a foodborne illness associated with a wide variety of foods, including dairy, meat, vegetables, fruit, and ready-to-eat products.
The Western Cape had reported 71 cases, followed by KwaZulu-Natal with 37 cases.
Motsoaledi added that whilst anyone can get the diseases, which has a mortality rate of between 20% - 30%, those at a high risk of developing the disease are newborns, the elderly, pregnant women and people with weak immunity systems such as HIV or cancer sufferers.
Thirty-six people have died in South Africa from an outbreak of the food-borne disease listeriosis, the Department of Health said.
"The source of this outbreak is now being investigated, and all the stakeholders are cooperating with the investigation led by the NICD".
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