Country in the grip of listeriosis disease outbreak

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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.

"As of the 29th of November 2017, tracing back from the 1st of January, a total of 557 laboratory confirmed listeriosis cases have been reported from all provinces".

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.

"The source of this outbreak is now being investigated, and all the stakeholders are cooperating with the investigation led by the NICD (National Institute for Communicale Diseases)", he said.

Listeria typically occurs every year with between 60 - 80 cases detected and treated annually, however, in July this year The Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Johannesburg and Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria alerted the NICD to unusually high numbers of babies with Listeriosis. This triggered a review of all cases diagnosed in both public and private hospitals.

Gauteng is the worst hit with 62% of cases, 37% in Western Cape and 7% in KwaZulu Natal.

An outbreak of listeriosis has claimed 36 lives in South Africa, health authorities said on Tuesday.

The national department of health says the main preventative measure is to always ensure that good hygiene is followed.

"From these sources, the following foodstuffs can be contaminated and cause the disease: meat and all animal products, fruits and vegetables".

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