Deadly food-borne disease kills 36 people in South Africa, origin unknown

Ismail Akwei December 05, 2017
Hospital ward in South Africa's KwaZulu Natal. Source: Africa Doctors

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.

Listeriosis, commonly found in soil, water and vegetation contaminates food sources including animal and farm produce which transmit the bacteria to consumers.

The country’s health department confirmed the outbreak at a press conference on Tuesday stating that the majority of the 557 laboratory-confirmed listeriosis cases were coming from the Gauteng province. They could not specify the origin of the disease.

Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi called on South Africans to be vigilant and immediately report flu-like symptoms including diarrhoea, fever, general body pains and weakness at the nearest hospital.

Those who contract the disease suffer the same symptoms including meningitis which is the inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord, he added.

“If you encounter the symptoms I’ve mentioned, please rush to look for medical help, in other words, don’t just assume and sit at home especially if you get flu-like symptoms now in the summer,” he warned.

Dr Motsoaledi said the disease mostly affects the elderly and children, and it can be treated with antibiotics.

“Please don’t get tired of washing your hands if it means washing hundred times a day, please do it!!” he advised.

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Last Edited by:Ismail Akwei Updated: December 5, 2017


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