What happened the last time Listeriosis broke out in South Africa?


You can avoid catching Listeriosis by following these simple steps

Though the disease can kill, there are ways you can keep yourself safe in the face of an outbreak

What happened the last time Listeriosis broke out in South Africa?


A total of 61 people have been confirmed dead following a Listeriosis outbreak in South Africa, as the disease was officially announced as “notifiable” by Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi earlier on Monday.

A total of 727 cases have been reported in this country since the outbreak began. Worryingly for Gauteng residents, 442 of these cases have been reported in the province. For context, the next highest total for a province is the Western Cape’s 92.

What is Listeriosis?

It is a food poisoning that occurs when the bacteria known as listeria has contimanated 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.

What are the symptoms?

As we reported earlier, Web MD list the following as symptoms for Listeriosis:

“Fever, muscle aches, and sometimes nausea or diarrhea. If infection spreads to the nervous system, symptoms such as a headachestiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, or convulsions can occur. But infected pregnant women may experience only a mild, flu-like illness.”

How to avoid Listeriosis

  • Shop sensibly. Keep raw meats and fish bagged separately from other foods. Make sure all foods that need to be in the fridge are stored there as soon as possible
  • Wash your hands at all given opportunities, from food preparation to bathroom use
  • Cook, refrigerate, or freeze meat, poultry, eggs, fish, and ready-to-eat foods within 2 hours. Make sure your refrigerator is set at 40°F (4°C) or colder.
  • Keep refrigerators clean. Don’t leave any spillages or liquids there to linger
  • Cook food thoroughly, and reheat leftovers at no less than 74C / 165F
  • Follow labels and instructions on food packaging dilligently
  • “If in doubt, throw it out” – if something is on the turn, don’t take any risks

How can I prevent listeriosis if I’m pregant?

1) Stay away from soft cheeses unless you know they’re made from pasteurised milk

2) Hot dogs, cured meats, and luncheon meats are best to steer clear of

3) Pâté and meat spreads should only be consumed if they are canned, rather than refrigerated

4) Refrigerated smoked seafood like salmon, trout, whitefish, cod, tuna, and mackerel cannot be eaten unless they are part of a cooked, casserole-style dish.

5) Avoid eating salads made in a store, such as ham, chicken, egg, tuna, or seafood salads.