South Africa is battling an outbreak of a bacterium disease which has killed 36 people across the country out of the over 500 cases recorded last month.
In a statement about the outbreak, Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi said private healthcare facilities accounted for 34% of cases, while 66% came from public health facilities.
Listeriosis is a serious, but treatable and preventable disease caused by the bacterium, Listeria monocytogenes.More news: Watch list (ROI - a financial ratio): Kinder Morgan, Inc. (NYSE:KMI)
Motsoaledi says newborns, the elderly, pregnant women and people with weak immunity are at high risk of getting listeriosis. "Listeriosis is a disease that occurs every year and is seen in our hospitals, typically 60-80 cases are detected and treated annually", said the minister. "Animal products and fresh produce such as fruit can be contaminated from these sources", he said.
"The source of this outbreak is now being investigated, and all the stakeholders are cooperating with the investigation led by the NICD (National Institute for Communicale Diseases)", he said.
Approximately 557 cases have been reported, with the majority coming from Gauteng.More news: Why Patagonia Will Sue President Trump Over Utah National Monuments
Motsoaledi says this indicates that the source of the outbreak is likely to be a food product that's widely distributed and consumed by people across all socio-economic groups.
Symtoms from the food-borne disease include diarrhoea, fever, general body pains, vomiting and weakness.
"If you encounter the symptoms I've mentioned, please rush to look for medical help, in other words, don't just assume and sit at home especially if you get flu-like symptoms now in the summer", he warned.More news: IATA: Global passenger demand rebounded in October
"It does have a cure... While it has a cure, it's also virulent, meaning it's a very angry bacterium and can be fatal".