PRETORIA - Health minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi announced the outbreak of the food-borne disease listeria with the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NCID) on Tuesday.
According to the NICD, there have been a total of 557 confirmed cases from all the provinces, the majority occurring in Gauteng. Dr Motsoaledi stated 36 people have died due to the disease.
Listeriosis is a foodborne illness it has been associated with a wide variety of foods, including dairy products, meat products, vegetables, fruit, and ready-to-eat products.
Those at high risk of developing severe disease include newborns, the elderly, pregnant women, persons with weak immunity such as HIV, diabetes, cancer, chronic liver or kidney disease.
Minister Motsoaledi says Infection with #listeria may result in:— South African Gov (@GovernmentZA) December 5, 2017
• Flu-like illness with diarrhoea including fever, general body pains, vomiting & weakness
• Infection of the blood stream (septiceamia)
• Meningoencephalitis (infection of the brain) #FoodBorneOutbreak
The illness can be treated with antibiotics. The minister urged South Africans to wash their hands before and during food preparation.
Minister Motsoaledi says store food at safe temperatures.
Members of the public can contact the NICD Emergency Operations Centre during working hours at 011 386 2000.
Health workers can call the NICD Hotline for Clinical Emergencies after hours at 082 883 9920