NICD: Listeriosis death toll rises to 107

The NICD says a total of 852 cases have been diagnosed in both public and private healthcare sectors.

A view of the listeria bacteria. Picture: National Institute for Communicable Diseases.

JOHANNESBURG - The National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) announced that a total of 852 laboratory-confirmed listeriosis cases have been reported to them since the outbreak.

The NICD also says the bacteria has claimed 107 lives.

The institute says 59 % of the cases have been reported from Gauteng, followed by Western Cape with 13% and KwaZulu-Natal at 7%.

The institute says babies under a month-old account for 42% of these cases.

The food-borne disease is the worst documented outbreak in South Africa's history.

The Institute's Juno Thomas said: “Of the 355 cases that we have been able to verify whether the patients survived the illness or died as a result of it. We know that 107 patients have died.”

Thomas says investigations are ongoing into the cause of the disease.

“There are a number of potential leads that are being investigated further and active investigation into a wide variety of production, processing and packaging facilities is ongoing in all the provinces.”

Listeriosis is a serious but rare infection, mainly caused by eating food contaminated with a specific bacteria which is found in soil, water and vegetation.

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