Minister Aaron Motsoaledi announces outbreak of food borne disease in South Africa

Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi says the infection doesn't have to be fatal

Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi says the infection doesn't have to be fatal

South Africa is battling an outbreak of a bacterium disease which has killed 36 people across the country out of the over 500 cases recorded last month.

At a press briefing in Pretoria on Tuesday, Motsoaledi announced that there is an outbreak of Listeriosis which is a bacterium disease found in soil, water and vegetation, which contaminates food sources such as animal products and fresh produce.

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.

He, however, said in July, doctors from neonatal units at the Chris Hani-Baragwanath and the Steve Biko Academic Hospital alerted the National Institute for Communicable Diseases about "unusually high numbers" of babies with listeriosis.

Listeriosis is marked by flu-like symptoms such as diarrhoea, fever, general body pains, vomiting, weakness, septicaemia and meningoencephalitis. "Environmental health officers are following up diagnosed cases and are visiting their homes to sample food where available", said Motsoaledi.

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Most cases have been reported from Gauteng Province (62 percent), followed by Western Cape (13 percent) and KwaZulu-Natal (7 percent), while the remaining 18 percent is distributed in the remaining six provinces, the department said.

"Given that only 17 percent of South Africans use private health facilities, this proportion of cases from the private health facilities is too high".

The Department of Health has issued a warning on an outbreak of food-borne disease Listeriosis.

"This has to be the biggest outbreak ever", said Thomas.

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