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The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) says the listeriosis death toll has risen by two to 193 nationally, with more than 1000 cases having been confirmed.

The institute said 68% of the 1011 recorded cases were known.

Of those who died 81 were infants younger than 28 days, while 10 were children aged between one and 14.

Individuals at high risk of developing severe disease include newborn babies, the elderly, pregnant women, and people with weak immunity such as those with HIV, diabetes and cancer.

The Western Cape accounts for the second-highest number of confirmed cases with 125, after Gauteng with 592 cases.

Two class action lawsuits have been launched against Tiger Brands and Enterprise Foods in the South Gauteng High Court following the deaths and illness of people linked to the listeriosis outbreak.

The NICD has reiterated that the source of the outbreak was the Tiger Brands Enterprise Foods ready-to-eat meat factory in Polokwane.

It added that more cases could arise as the listeria bacteria could remain in the body for 70 days before signs of the illness show.

The head of the NICD’s Centre for Enteric Diseases, Dr Juno Thomas, said babies born with listeriosis have a high mortality rate.

Thomas said women had to take extra precautions, and even if they were not feeling sick, if they showed some symptoms they should consult a doctor.

“If pregnant women develop fever or flu-like symptoms, or a fever with diarrhoea, they must see a doctor even if they are feeling okay.

“Even if they do not feel ill, it can be a sign of listeriosis.”

The SA Meat Processors Association said the pork industry had lost R800million since the minister of health announced the source of the listeriosis outbreak.

The SA Pork Producers Organisation said 2000 employees in the pork industry had lost their jobs since the announcement last month.