Gauteng at centre of Listeriosis outbreak

Gauteng at centre of Listeriosis outbreak

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has confirmed a countrywide outbreak of foodborne Listeria.

The bacteria are widely found in nature and can be found in soil, water and vegetation.

People with the disease usually suffer from a flu-like illness‚ diarrhoea accompanied by a fever‚ general body pains‚ vomiting and weakness.

Listeriosis is a type of food poisoning caused by eating foods contaminated with the bacteria listeria monocytogenes.

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

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Tracing from the 1st of January 2017, as of 29 November 2017, a total of 557 laboratory-confirmed listeriosis cases have been reported from all provinces.

Approximately 557 cases have been reported while 36 people have already died of the disease. "The source of this outbreak is now being investigated", he said.

Pregnant women, the elderly or individuals with a weakened immune system, i.e. people in immuno-compromised status due to HIV/Aids, leukaemia, cancer, kidney transplant and steroid therapy, are at greatest risk of severe listeriosis. "Environmental Health Officers are following up diagnosed cases and are visiting their homes to sample food where available", he said.

Listeria typically occurs every year with between 60 - 80 cases detected and treated annually, however, in July this year The Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Johannesburg and Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria alerted the NICD to unusually high numbers of babies with Listeriosis. Gauteng is the worst hit with 62% of cases, 37% in Western Cape and 7% in KwaZulu Natal.

To find out more, you can contact the NICD at 011-386-2000.

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