Source of listeriosis in Bay unclear

The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality has confirmed two cases of the food-borne disease listeriosis meningitis in the metro.

However, the municipality’s public health directorate has described the situation as stable.

Residents have been warned to seek medical help for flu-like symptoms, diarrhoea, fever, septicaemia or severe headaches.

Provincial health spokesman Sizwe Kupelo said the source of the infection in the Bay remained unknown.

“It is a very difficult thing to find. It requires environmental health practitioners to collect specimens from retailers and then confirm through laboratory testing,” he said.

Kupelo said they had confirmed 24 cases of the disease in the province, for both the private and the public sector.

According to a report sent to Bay city manager Johann Mettler, the two cases were investigated and confidential reports given to the head of the Outbreak Response Team and the National Health Laboratory Service’s local office.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said last week that hospitals around the country normally treated about 60 to 80 cases of the disease countrywide every year, but in July the department was warned of an unusually high number of babies that had contracted listeriosis.

This led to a review of cases, which totalled 557 by November 29, with 36 deaths.

Motsoaledi said contaminated food was suspected to be the source. He said of the 557 laboratoryconfirmed cases, 66% of patients were in public hospitals and 34% in private hospitals.

The listeria bacteria is found in contaminated food and water and also in raw milk.

The Gauteng Department of Health reported another death yesterday, that of a pregnant woman in Pretoria.

A spokesman said more information would be provided once officials had received a report from the infection control team.

Motsoaledi said last week that Gauteng had accounted for 345 of the cases reported. The Western Cape followed with 71 cases, then KwaZulu-Natal with 37 cases. – Additional reporting by TimesLIVE

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