Listeriosis: WC has second highest number of cases in SA

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says the department recorded 119 new cases of listeria nationally since 5 December 2017.

FILE: Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - The Western Cape currently has the second largest number of listeriosis cases in the country.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says the department recorded 119 new cases of listeria nationally since 5 December 2017.

There have been 92 confirmed cases of listeriosis in the Western Cape.

Listeriosis is described as a serious, but treatable and preventable disease caused by the bacterium, Listeria monocytogenes, and is widely distributed in nature. It can be found in soil, water and vegetation.

Animal products and fresh produce, such as fruits and vegetables, can also be contaminated from these sources.

Health officials says individuals at high risk of developing the severe disease include newborns, the elderly, pregnant women, persons with weak immunity such as HIV, diabetes, cancer, chronic liver or kidney disease.

Health officials have yet to determine the source of the foodborne disease.

Sixty-one patients have died since the 1 January last year.

Motsoaledi says 727 cases have been reported nationally.

The public sector reported the majority of cases, with 65%, while the private sector had 35%.

Health officials have urged the public to manage their hygiene cautiously.