#Listeria: Don’t panic, says Motsoaledi

Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says at least 36 people have already died, and more than 500 cases have been confirmed countrywide.

FILE: Aaron Motsoaledi. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has urged South African not to panic following the announcement of an outbreak of listeria in the country.

At least 36 people have already died, and more than 500 cases have been confirmed countrywide.

Motsoaledi says eating hot cooked food and washing hands are good ways of preventing the spread of listeriosis.

“Don’t eat half-cooked food. Listeria is very sensitive to heat. If the food receives enough heat it can die. Wash your hands with soap 100 times a day, please do it.”

The bacteria is found in soil, water and vegetation. The elderly, children and pregnant women are most vulnerable to the disease.

It is usually present in raw milk and other dairy products.

People usually contract it through animal products, fresh fruits and vegetables.

Listeria can thrive in cold temperatures and the only way to kill these bacteria is cooking and pasteurisation.

The disease causes flu-like symptoms and can lead to nausea, diarrhoea, infection of the bloodstream and brain.

Doctors can use a blood test to detect listeria. In some cases, it may be necessary to get a sample of spinal fluid or urine.

Click here to find out more about listeriosis.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)