Listeriosis, a food borne disease, has killed 36 people in South Africa, with more than 520 more infected. The course of the contamination is being investigated but authorities believe it is most likely farms and agriculture or food processing plants.

Johannesburg - The City of Ekurhuleni on Tuesday, urged residents to practice precautionary measures when preparing food during the festive season following the listeriosis outbreak.

At least 37 people have died from the disease in South Africa.

There are currently over 550 reported cases of listeriosis since its outbreak was announced last week.

The department of health have indicated that there were cases reported in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape.

Ekurhuleni has advised its residents to take the following precautionary measures to prevent the disease:

* No drinking raw (unpasteurised) milk or eating food with unpasteurised milk in them;

* Wash hands, knives, countertops and cutting boards after handling and preparing uncooked foods;

* Rinse raw vegetables thoroughly before eating;

* Keep uncooked meat, poultry, and seafood separate from vegetables, fruit, cooked food and ready-to-eat food;

* Thoroughly cook raw food from animal sources - such as meat, poultry, or seafood - to a safe internal temperature.

* Heat hot dogs, cold cuts and deli meats before eating them.

Symptoms of listeriosis include fever, muscle aches and sometimes nausea or diarrhea. If infection spreads to the nervous system, symptoms such as headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, or convulsions can occur.