The Listeriosis outbreak, which has claimed the lives of 61 people in South Africa since 2017, continues to spread and affect more people in all nine provinces.
This feared disease has also reached the Limpopo Province.
The Limpopo Department of Health (DoH) confirmed that 60 leaners from the Bosele School for the Blind in the Sekhukhune area were infected during January. They were rushed to different health facilities after complaining of severe stomach aches and diarrhoea. After receiving treatment, they were discharged on Friday, 26 January.
A spokesperson for the DoH, Mr Thabiso Teffo, said 40 cases of Listeriosis were reported on 29 January across Limpopo. Of these cases, 21 were female patients while 16 were male patients. The gender of the remaining three patients could not be confirmed by the time of our going to press. Teffo confirmed that 28 cases were reported by private hospitals and 12 by state hospitals.
According to information made available by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), Listeriosis is food poisoning caused by eating foods contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes bacterium. Nationally, a total of 767 confirmed listeriosis cases have been reported to the National Institute of Communicable Disease between January 2017 and January 2018.
The Listeria bacteria can be found in soil, water, vegetation and the faeces of some animals.
People with compromised immune systems, such as some of those living with AIDS, cancer, organ transplants, diabetes and pregnant women, are at a higher risk to contract the disease, said the World Health Organization.
However, the National Institute of Communicable Diseases have outlined ways on how to prevent the deadly disease:
* Wash hands before handling food and during food preparations.
*Separate raw food from cooked food.
*Keep food at a safe temperature.
*Never eat uncooked food or half-cooked food.
*Clean water for domestic use and always use pasteurised milk.
Date:10 February 2018 - By: Tracy Ngobeni
Tracy Ngobeni is a 20-year-old intern who is doing her final year in journalism at Tshwane University of Technology. She was born and bred in Olifantshoek. She started her journalism career in 2017, after submitting her articles to the Record Noweto Newspaper in Pretoria. Her heart beats for print media because she believes that writing can heal reader's souls.