Published: Tue, December 05, 2017
Medicine | By Brett Sutton

Health Minister confirms outbreak of Listeriosis in South Africa

Health Minister confirms outbreak of Listeriosis in South Africa

Cape Town - Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has confirmed that there is an outbreak of food-borne disease Listeriosis in South Africa. A total of 557 cases have been confirmed so far, according to health minister Aaron Motsoaledi.

He explained that the disease was "a serious‚ but treatable and preventable disease caused by the bacterium‚ Listeria monocytogenes". Animal products and fresh produce such as fruits and vegetables can be contaminated from these sources.

The disease causes flu-like symptoms and can lead to nausea, diarrhoea, infection of the bloodstream and brain.

Motsoaledi says although the disease was serious, it could still be treated with antibiotics and prevented by observing personal hygiene such as washing hands before and after preparing food. Gauteng is the worst hit with 62% of cases, 37% in Western Cape and 7% in KwaZulu Natal.

It poses a higher risk for newborns, the elderly, pregnant women, and persons with weak immunity, the health department said.

Motsoaledi said it was still unknown where the outbreak originated.

The source of the outbreak is now being investigated, but Motsoaledi said it's believe that this particular outbreak is from a food source that is being consumed by both the rich and the poor, and the contamination points may well be farms and food processing plants.

"The source of this outbreak is now being investigated, and all the stakeholders are cooperating with the investigation led by the NICD".

Members of the public can contact the NICD Emergency Operations Centre during working hours at 011 386 2000.

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