Thirty-six people have died in South Africa from an outbreak of the food-borne disease listeriosis, the country's Department of Health said on Tuesday.
He explained that Listeriosis is a serious, but treatable and preventable disease caused by the bacterium Listeria Monocytogenes.
People with the disease usually suffer from a flu-like illness‚ diarrhoea accompanied by a fever‚ general body pains‚ vomiting and weakness. About 70% of the cases have been confirmed in these groups. Gauteng is the worst hit with 62% of cases, 37% in Western Cape and 7% in KwaZulu Natal.
Head of the Centre for Enteric Diseases at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), Dr Juno Thomas said the number of deaths will increase as they receive final outcome data on the reported cases.
While anyone could contract the disease‚ those who could most easily contract it are newborns‚ the elderly‚ pregnant women‚ and people with weak immunity‚ such as those with HIV‚ diabetes‚ cancer‚ and chronic liver or kidney disease.
Motsoaledi said the cause of the outbreak was now being investigated and urged South Africans to wash their hands and keep food at safe temperatures. "Environmental Health Officers are following up diagnosed cases and are visiting their homes to sample food where available." .
To find out more, you can contact the NICD at 011-386-2000.