The Free State Department of Health has revealed that 22 isolated incidents of Listeriosis have been reported in the province between August and December 2017.
According to Dikeledi Baleni, Manager of the Communicable Diseases Unit at the department, these incidents were reported in various parts of the province, including Mangaung, Welkom and the Thabo Mofutsanyane District.
“Fortunately, there have been no reported deaths in the province as we’ve managed to get them all in time,” Baleni reveals. However, she warns members of the community, especially parents, to be on the lookout for flu-like symptoms, which include diarrhoea and vomiting. The disease is mainly caused by eating food contaminated with the bacteria listeria monocytogenes, which is found in soil, water and vegetation. It is also usually present in raw milk and other dairy products, like soft cheese.
“We do have a few cases, but they are isolated. However, we can see that we’ve got an outbreak brewing, so we should be proactive in telling people that there is this disease, and that they should take precautionary measures.
“People usually contract it through consuming animal products and fresh fruits and vegetables. Another problem is when people do not thoroughly wash their fruits and vegetables or boil their meat properly when cooking it,” Baleni said.
She urges all people displaying flu-like symptoms not to take them for granted, but to go to their doctors or nearest public clinic or hospital for a check-up. She says the disease is both treatable and curable, and the sooner it is found, the better. She also urges everyone to take precautions with hand and food hygiene and to be sure not to keep certain food products, like viennas and soft cheese items in the fridge for too long.