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Motsoaledi: Fewer people dying from listeriosis

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases released the latest statistics this week, announcing the bacteria has claimed 107 lives so far.

FILE: Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says the increase in the number of listeriosis deaths is due to follow-ups of patients who were diagnosed in 2017.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) released the latest statistics this week, announcing the bacteria has claimed 107 lives so far.

But Motsoaledi says that fewer people are dying now from the outbreak.

“We had only followed up about 15% of the cases and now that number is at 45%. That’s why the numbers [death toll] keep on rising. It doesn’t mean new people are dying.”

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 that 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.

In January, the Health Department met with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to discuss ways to fight the spread of listeriosis in South Africa.

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

Additional reporting by Tendani Mulaudzi.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)