On 5 December 2017, Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi announced that more than 30 people died following the recent outbreak of the food-borne disease listeriosis.
According to the National Centre for Communicable Diseases (NICD) approximately 557 cases have been reported, with the majority occurring in Gauteng province.
Listeria is a bacterium (Listeria monocytogenes) found in soil, water and vegetation. It can also occur in some animals, including poultry and cattle. Raw milk and other foods made from raw milk can also carry the bacteria. The disease cannot be spread through contact with infected people.
According to Janse Rabie, Head of Natural Resources at Agri SA, the recent outbreak of listeriosis emphasises the extreme vulnerability of all people when it comes to contamination of our natural resources, particularly soil and water.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), people should seek medical attention if they experience the following symptoms:
The treatment of listeriosis is usually symptomatic and depends on the severity of the disease. If infection is severe, antibiotics may be recommended. People with a compromised immune system, older adults, infants or pregnant women may require urgent medical care.
Prevention measures include:
Agri SA is committed to providing any help it may have to offer in assisting the NICD or the Department of Health in isolating and eliminating the source of the disease.