Flickr / NIAID
Flickr / NIAID
The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) has confirmed six more Listeriosis deaths occurred since the start of 2018, as reported by IOL.
The increased death toll makes this the deadliest outbreak of the disease in recorded history, with 748 cases officially being reported. So we’re looking into just how deadly the illness can be, and what is used in medical treatment.
It is a food poisoning that occurs when the bacteria known as listeria has contaminated a consumable item. The disease is particularly dangerous for the elderly, young babies, and pregnant women.
The bacteria itself thrives in soil and water, so everything from vegetables to the drinking supply, to the grazing animals we consume can carry the disease.
If you eat foods that have been produced carelessly, you may be ingesting dairy, meats or vegetables that carry the infection. By failing to thoroughly wash your hands or refrigerate these produce before eating, your chances of contracting Listeriosis go up.
If you fail to refrigerate food that needs to be stocked somewhere cold, then you’re playing with fire. Bacteria multiply in warm, dry conditions. Citizens are advised to refrigerate food immediately after buying and not allowing cool foods to stand out in hot conditions.
It’s not an outright death sentence. Of the 748 cases reported, around 9% of people have died. However, that’s a rate of nearly one in 11 people, so there is a very real threat of mortality from the disease. That threat increases for newborn babies, pregnant mothers, and the elderly who are all most susceptible to Listeria.
The problem with this disease is how the symptoms are so typical of more common illnesses like flu and food poisoning. Nausea, headaches, muscle aches and diarrhoea are all part of contracting the illness.
It’s treated through a course of antibiotics, with ampicillin designated as the best way to attack Listeriosis. However, treatment usually relies on a variety of drugs. The best way to treat this is by picking the symptoms up early.
If there is anything you’re unsure of, contact your doctor immediately.