In a follow-up on the largest documented listeriosis outbreak South Africa has ever experiencedthe South African National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) has put the death toll at 107 since Jan. 2017.

South Africa/CIA
South Africa/CIA

The outbreak, which the source still remains elusive, grew by 32 cases since last reported one week ago–the total is now 852 laboratory-confirmed listeriosis cases through Feb. 5.

Six out of 10 cases have been reported from Gauteng Province, while Western Cape and KwaZuluNatal provinces have reported scores of cases.

Municipal Environmental Health Practitioners in all provinces have embarked on systematic inspection and sampling of diverse food production, processing, and packaging facilities.

Cases of listeriosis will continue to be investigated, with trace back and further investigation of any positive food/environmental samples.

Consumption of food contaminated with L. monocytogenes can cause listeriosis, a serious infection that primarily affects older adults, persons with weakened immune systems, and pregnant women and their newborns. Less commonly, persons outside these risk groups are affected.

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Listeriosis can cause fever, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions sometimes preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms. An invasive infection spreads beyond the gastrointestinal tract. In pregnant women, the infection can cause miscarriages, stillbirths, premature delivery or life-threatening infection of the newborn. In addition, serious and sometimes fatal infections in older adults and persons with weakened immune systems. Listeriosis is treated with antibiotics. Persons in the higher-risk categories who experience flu-like symptoms within two months after eating contaminated food should seek medical care and tell the health care provider about eating the contaminated food.