Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has confirmed a countrywide outbreak of foodborne Listeria.
Listeriosis is a foodborne illness associated with a wide variety of foods, including dairy, meat, vegetables, fruit, and ready-to-eat products.
Approximately 557 cases have been reported while 36 people have already died of the disease. Gauteng is the worst hit with 62% of cases, 37% in Western Cape and 7% in KwaZulu Natal.
The minister was speaking at a media briefing in Pretoria.
The national institute of communicable diseases (NICD) was notified of the outbreak by doctors at two Gauteng hospitals who had noticed an unusually high number of babies with Listeriosis.
Minister Motsoaledi said the cause of the outbreak was currently being investigated and urged South Africans to wash their hands and keep food at safe temperatures.
Although anyone can get Listeriosis, those at high risk include newborns, the elderly, pregnant women, persons with weak immunity such as those with HIV, diabetes, cancer, chronic liver or kidney disease.Listeriosis is marked by flu-like symptoms such as diarrhoea, fever, general body pains, vomiting, weakness, septicaemia and meningoencephalitis.
To find out more, you can contact the NICD at 011-386-2000.