Medicine

Thirty-six people die in listeriosis outbreak in SA

Thirty-six people die in listeriosis outbreak in SA

At least 36 people have died in South Africa after an outbreak of a food borne disease, Listeriosis, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi announced Tuesday.

He explained that Listeriosis is a serious, but treatable and preventable disease caused by the bacterium Listeria Monocytogenes.

The minister said those who contract the disease will have flu-like symptoms including diarrhoea, fever, general body pains and weakness.

This can lead to septicaemia and meningoencephalitis‚ which is an infection of the brain.

A total of 557 cases have been reported this year alone‚ a steep jump from the average of between 60 and 80 reported in previous years.

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Of the 557 cases, the department of health has found the final outcome of 70 confirmed cases of Listeriosis.

The department has not found the origin of the outbreak but suspects food contamination at the source, such as farms or food processing plants. It could not estimate how many deaths had usually occurred in the past.

Most have been reported from Gauteng Province (62%, 345/557) followed by Western Cape (71/557) and KwaZulu-Natal (37/557).

Although anyone can get #Listeriosis, those at high risk include newborns, the elderly, pregnant women, persons with weak immunity such as those with HIV, diabetes, cancer, chronic liver or kidney disease.

Members of the public can contact the NICD emergency operations centre during working hours (011 386 2000) or the NICD hotline for clinical emergencies after hours (082 883 9920).


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