The death toll of the food-borne disease has risen to 61 since its outbreak in December. At a media briefing earlier today, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said Gauteng still has the most cases of liseriosis, with 442 out of the 727 confirmed cases. In the Western Cape around 92 cases have been confirmed placing the province second on the list with the highest number of cases reported.
“There are 727 laboratory-confirmed cases that occurred in the country since January 2017. This means that since the last press conference of 5 December 2017, a total of 170 extra cases emerged,” Motsoaledi said
The Department of Health has modified its lists of notifiable diseases to now include listeriosis. Motsoaledi has urged anyone who has experienced the symptoms of listeriosis to seek medical attention urgently. He added that the disease can cause meningitis which can affect the brain and Septicaemia which can affect the blood stream – both can be fatal. Motsoaledi stressed that despite the disease being dangerous it is also treatable with antibiotics.
It’s still unclear what causes the disease, the department of health said it is still busy with investigations into the source of the outbreak. The World Health Organization (WHO) has urged the public to start implementing five key steps to food safety:
Newborns, the elderly, pregnant women and people with low immunity and living with HIV, Diabetes, Cancer and chronic liver are at higher risk of contracting it. The food-borne sickness is found in soil, water and vegetation. Fresh produce such as fruits and vegetables, and animal products can potentially be contaminated from these sources. The symptoms of Literiosis includes flu-like symptoms along with a fever, diarrhoea, general body pains and vomiting.
Graphic: Cape Town ETC team