Listeria monocytogenes. Picture: Centres for Disease Control and Prevention

Port Elizabeth - One person in the Eastern Cape has died from listeriosis, and 23 others tested positive for the food borne disease, in the past 10 months, according to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases.

Laboratory tests returned 24 positive results between February and November 2017, according to a report from the institute which follows an announcement this week that 36 people had died from listeria nationwide.

Eastern Cape Department of Health spokesperson, Sizwe Kupelo, on Thursday said the department was aware of two cases from the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro. He said other cases were reported in OR Tambo‚ Amathole and Sarah Baartman municipalities.

In Port Elizabeth, a Nanaga farm owner from Bluewater Bay was admitted to St George's Hospital on September 25 after he was found unresponsive by his wife. The man, who had other underlying medical conditions, died the next day.

READ MORE: WATCH: 36 killed from #Listeriosis outbreak

“He was on a strict vegan diet and didn’t eat processed food, drank filtered water at home and on the farm. Bought organic foods from Woolworths. Prior to the collapse, he ate pawpaw and flax seeds,” said Kapelo.

In the second case in the metro, Kupelo said a 69-year-old man visited a doctor on October 13 after experiencing flu like symptoms, he was given a Voltaren injection and flu medication. 

The next day the Uitenhage man was taken to Cuyler Hospital after experiencing a severe headache, neck pain and vomiting. 

Kapelo said blood tests were taken and bacterial meningitis was diagnosed, caused by Listeria monocytogenes. 

“He was hospitalised for a month and later discharged. He had a history of ingesting cheese from Shoprite and a private dairy outlet in PE,” he said.

Earlier this week, Minister of Health Dr Aaron Motsoaledi announced that 36 people in the country had died due to listeriosis disease.

Listeriosis is a serious but treatable and preventable disease caused by the bacterium called listeria monocytogenes. 

The bacteria is widely distributed in nature and can be found in soil, water and vegetation.