Minister Aaron Motsoaledi announces outbreak of food borne disease in South Africa

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Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi on Tuesday said South Africa is dealing with an outbreak of listeriosis, a disease he described as serious but treatable and preventable.

The World Health Organisation has advised on food safety measures which includes; that people should keep clean especially when handling food, food should be cooked thoroughly; raw food should not be eaten; use safe water, keep food at safe temperatures and use pasteurised milk products.

"Most cases (62%, or 345 cases) have been reported from Gauteng‚" Motsoaledi said.

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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.

The flag for the latest outbreak was raised in July, when Gauteng doctors from neonatal units at Chris Hani Baragwanath and Steve Biko hospitals recorded an unusually high number of babies with listeria.

The disease causes flu-like symptoms and can lead to nausea, diarrhoea, infection of the bloodstream and brain.

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He said the bacteria was not new, as it occurs every year and is seen in hospitals with only 60 to 80 cases detected and treated each year.

Approximately 557 cases have been reported while 36 people have already died of the disease.

The Department of Health has issued a warning on an outbreak of food-borne disease Listeriosis. It was probably spread by "a food product that is widely distributed and consumed by people across all socio-economic groups", Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said. "The remaining 18% is distributed in the remaining six provinces‚" Motsoaledi said.

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