Saturday, 23 June, 2018

Country in the grip of listeriosis disease outbreak

Getty Images  iStock Getty Images iStock
Johnnie Parks | 06 December, 2017, 08:43

Health officials are trying to determine the source of the recent outbreak of listeriosis that claimed 36 lives in South Africa.

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.

Motsoaledi said that tracing as far back as January 1, 2017 up until November 29, 557 laboratory confirmed cases have been reported.

People with compromised immune systems, like some of those living with AIDS and pregnant women, are also at a heightened risk, according to the World Health Organization.

"However, in July this year, doctors from neonatal units in Chris Hani Baragwanath and Steve Biko Academic hospitals alerted the National Institute for Communicable Diseases about the unusually high numbers of babies with listeriosis".

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People with the disease usually suffer from a flu-like illness‚ diarrhoea accompanied by a fever‚ general body pains‚ vomiting and weakness.

"This triggered a review of all cases diagnosed in both public and private hospitals", he said.

Gauteng is the worst hit with 62% of cases, 37% in Western Cape and 7% in KwaZulu Natal. The province accounted for 345 of all the reported cases, said Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi.

Dr Rufaro Chatora, country representative of the World Health Organisation, said the the global body is "satisfied" that since the outbreak was detected, South Africa has been following set procedures as set in the worldwide health regulations. "Animal products and fresh produce such as fruit can be contaminated from these sources", he said.

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