Pretoria - Thirty six people in the country have died due to listeriosis disease; said Minister of Health Dr Aaron Motsoaledi during a media briefing on the outbreak of a food borne disease in South Africa.
During the briefing held at the GCIS in Hatfield today Motsoaledi explained that 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. Animal products and fresh produce such as fruit can be contaminated from these sources," he said.
He said the bacteria was not new, as it occurs every year and is seen in hospitals with only 60 to 80 cases detected and treated each year.
"However, in July this year, doctors from neonatal units in Chris Hani Baragwanath and Steve Biko Academic hospitals alerted the National Institute for Communicable Diseases about the unusually high numbers of babies with listeriosis.
"This triggered a review of all cases diagnosed in both public and private hospitals," he said.
Motsoaledi further explained that they concluded that the disease was an outbreak when it reached 500 cases.