Listeriosis outbreak claims 36 lives in S

Henrietta Brewer
December 6, 2017

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

Extra precautions such as regular hand- washing when dealing with food, cooking food thoroughly, using pasteurised milk products and keeping food at safe temperatures could assist in preventing its spread.

"Most cases (62%, or 345 cases) have been reported from Gauteng‚" Motsoaledi said.

Although anyone can get listeriosis, those at high risk of developing severe disease include newborns, the elderly, pregnant women and persons with weak immunity. "The source of this outbreak is now being investigated and all stakeholders are cooperating with the investigation led by the National Institute of Communicable Diseases", the minister said.

Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi called on South Africans to be vigilant and immediately report flu-like symptoms including diarrhoea, fever, general body pains and weakness at the nearest hospital.

"Of the 557 laboratory confirmed cases, 34 percent were from the private health facilities, and 66 were from public health facilities".

He said they had traced 70 patients, of whom 36 died.

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 health department said on Tuesday that Gauteng was hardest hit by the latest outbreak.

"From these sources, the following foodstuffs can be contaminated and cause the disease: meat and all animal products, fruits and vegetables".

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