Thirty six people in the country have died due to listeriosis disease; said Minister of Health Dr Aaron Motsoaledi during a media briefing on the outbreak of a food borne disease in South Africa.
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.
"As of the 29th of November 2017, tracing back from the 1st of January, a total of 557 laboratory confirmed listeriosis cases have been reported from all provinces".
People usually contract it through animal products and fresh fruits and vegetables.
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.
The disease causes flu-like symptoms and can lead to nausea, diarrhoea, infection of the bloodstream and brain.
He, however, said in July, doctors from neonatal units at the Chris Hani-Baragwanath and the Steve Biko Academic Hospital alerted the National Institute for Communicable Diseases about "unusually high numbers" of babies with listeriosis.
"Of these 70 cases, 36 persons have perished", said Motsoaledi.
Motsoaledi said, " The disease occurs every year and is seen in our hospitals, typically 60 - 80 cases are detected and treated annually.
Environmental health officers are following up diagnosed cases and are visiting patients' homes to sample food where available, Motsoaledi said.
To find out more, you can contact the NICD at 011-386-2000.
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