Listeria monocytogenes. Picture: Centres for Disease Control and Prevention

Tshwane – More than 700 cases of listeriosis have been confirmed in South Africa, and 61 people have already succumbed to the disease, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi revealed on Monday.

"There are 727 laboratory confirmed cases that occured in the country. This means that since the last press conference of 5 December 2017, a total of 170 extra cases emerged," Motsoaledi said at a media briefing in Pretoria.

"Of these 170, a total of 51 had already occurred before 5 December 2017, only that we are discovering them now as the search continues, hence they were captured retrospectively. Therefore, there are 119 new cases that occured since our last press conference."

During the December briefing, Motsoaledi had revealed that 36 patients had died.

"Now out of the 727 laboratory confirmed cases which we know about, we were only able to trace 134 actual patients. 134 of 727 is only 18 percent," he said.

"This means that we still have a very long way to go in searching. Out of the 134 traced patients, 61 had passed on."

Listeriosis is caused by bacteria, listeria, which manifests itself in flu-like illness with diarrhoea including fever, general body pain, vomiting and weakness, as well as infection of the blood stream and infection of the brain.

African News Agency/ANA