Deadly listeria outbreak is food-borne: Motsoaledi

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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.

Listeriosis is marked by flu-like symptoms such as diarrhoea, fever, general body pains, vomiting, weakness, septicaemia and meningoencephalitis.

The bacteria are widely found in nature and can be found in soil, water and vegetation.

Tracing from the 1st of January 2017, as of 29 November 2017, a total of 557 laboratory-confirmed listeriosis cases have been reported from all provinces.

Listeriosis is a type of food poisoning caused by eating foods contaminated with the bacteria listeria monocytogenes.

People usually contract it through animal products and fresh fruits and vegetables.

Tips to avoid listeriosis, according to the World Health Organisation.

Motsoaledi further explained that they concluded that the disease was an outbreak when it reached 500 cases.

The department has not found the origin of the outbreak but suspects food contamination at the source, such as farms or food processing plants.

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

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

The Western Cape had reported 71 cases, followed by KwaZulu-Natal with 37 cases.

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

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