Agri SA Highly Concerned About Outbreak Of Listeriosis Across South Africa
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:
- A stiff neck
- General weakness
- Vomiting (sometimes preceded by diarrhoea)
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:
- Avoiding drinking unpasteurised milk or eating foods that contain raw milk
- Practicing good hygiene, including washing hands regularly and make use of clean food preparation facilities
- Thoroughly cooking animal foods such as meat, poultry or fish
- Taking note of the expiry dates of perishable foods
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.
Issued by Agri SA, Directorate: Corporate Liaison
Mr Janse Rabie, Agri SA Head of Natural Resources, 012-643 3400 or 076 51 9601