South Africa: Listeriosis Death Toll 61

The listeriosis death toll in South Africa has risen to 61 since the outbreak was announced in early December 2017.

Listeriosis is a serious infection caused by eating contaminated food, and can be deadly if not treated in time.

Health Minister, Aaron Motsoaledi, said on Monday that genome sequencing – a type of dna testing – is being carried out on the bacteria, in an attempt to identify the source of the outbreak.

Gauteng still has the most cases of listeriosis, with 442 out of the 727 confirmed cases, while the Western Cape is second, with 92 confirmed cases.

The South African Department of Health has added listeriosis to its list of notifiable diseases.

The Department does not have statistics regarding past infection and mortality rates because listeriosis was not previously on the list.

In December, an abattoir in Tshwane was prohibited from selling meat after samples tested positive for listeria bacteria, the Gauteng Health Department said.

Gauteng Health MEC, Gwen Ramokgopa, said the abattoir was tested after a food sample from a listeriosis patient was traced to have come from there.

It remains unclear whether this is the only source of the current outbreak.

South Africans are being urged to practice excellent food hygiene and to seek medical treatment if they develop any flu-like symptoms, such as fevers and body aches, as well as nausea and diarrhea.