Thirty-six people die in food related disease outbreak in South Africa

06 December, 2017, 00:22 | Author: Jason Torres
  • FILE Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi

South Africa is battling an outbreak of a bacterium disease which has killed 36 people across the country out of the over 500 cases recorded last month.

Also on Tuesday, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi assured South Africans that his department, together with other concerned departments, will work hard to manage food safety in the country.

Listeriosis is a preventable disease caused by Listeria monocytogenes bacteria that is typically transferred through contaminated food and is readily treatable with antibiotics.

Listeriosis is caused by a bacterium found in soil, water and vegetation.

Most cases of the food-borne disease have been reported in Gauteng followed by the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. People usually contract it through animal products and fresh fruits and vegetables.

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.

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"The source of this outbreak is now being investigated, and all the stakeholders are cooperating with the investigation led by the NICD (National Institute for Communicale Diseases)", he said.

Of the 557 cases, 34% were confirmed at private health facilities, while 66% were detected at public hospitals.

Contamination in humans can result in flu-like illness, infection of the bloodstream and, in severe cases, infection of the brain which can prove fatal, he added.

Motsoaledi says the exact source of the outbreak is under investigation. Environmental Health Officers are following up diagnosed cases and are visiting their homes to sample food where available.

Members of the public are advised to call the NICD Emergency Operations Centre during working hours on 011 386 2000.

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