Mokopane - Salmonella was the likely cause of a diarrhoea outbreak in Limpopo earlier this week where 42 people were hospitalised, a Sapa correspondent reported on Tuesday.
The outbreak was reported on Monday by the provincial diseases outbreak response team, which believed the initial cause was contaminated food or water at Mokopane Lodge.
“We took water and food samples immediately after the outbreak and preliminary results on the food samples have identified salmonella food poisoning,” response team member Macks Lesufi said.
“We are still yet to get results on the water samples, but so far we have put the whole lodge under quarantine until further notice.”
Lesufi did not provide a copy of the preliminary results, as it was state property.
“We will only release the final results to the public maybe after Thursday,” he said.
Lesufi said that of the 42 cases that were reported and treated at Voortrekker Hospital, nine were critical while others were discharged immediately.
“Now, of the nine, only five people are currently in hospital and they have shown signs of improvement. We hope they will be discharged any day from now,” he said.
People normally contract salmonella from poultry, pork and beef, if the meat was prepared incorrectly or was infected with bacteria after preparation.
“We would like to warn our people to properly sterilise their utensils and make sure that their food is properly refrigerated to maintain its quality,” Lesufi said.
“Otherwise, they run the risk of salmonella.”
According to the World Health Organisation, salmonellosis is an infection with salmonella bacteria.
Those infected with it develop diarrhoea, fever and abdominal cramps for between 12 and 72 hours after infection.
“In most cases, the illness lasts four to seven days, and most people recover without treatment. In some cases, though, the diarrhoea may be so severe that the patient becomes dangerously dehydrated and must be hospitalised,” the WHO website states.
“At the hospital, the patient may receive intravenous fluids to treat the dehydration and may be given medication to provide symptomatic relief, such as fever reduction.”
The WHO said in severe cases the salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the blood stream, before infecting other organs.
“This is known as typhoid fever and can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics. The elderly, infants, and those with impaired immune systems are more likely to develop severe illness.”