Cape Town: Western Cape health facility staff have been on high alert after 90% of listeriosis cases were reported in Cape Metro.
On Monday, the national health department announced that 61 people died of the disease in the country.
The Western Cape has the second highest number of cases in South Africa. A multisectoral outbreak response team (MNORT) led by the National Department of Health, which includes the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the Department of Commerce and Industry, was also established. Will investigate the source of the disease.
The National Institute of Communicable Diseases and other interested parties will continue to monitor and coordinate outbreak response activities. Western Cape reported 92 cases, Gauteng 442 cases and KwaZulu-Natal 51.
Marika Champion, spokeswoman for the Western Cape Health Department, said that 90% of the cases reported in the Western Cape came from the Cape Metro area. She said the disease has been considered serious after a national outbreak response team was established. "Our staff has been alerted to be alert to patients who have the corresponding symptoms so that they can be detected early and take samples for the test."
"The symptoms are similar to the flu with fever, diarrhea, vomiting and pains in the body. Symptoms can progress to more severe forms of the disease. In pregnant women, listeria infection is usually a mild gastrointestinal disease, but it can affect the unborn baby. If you have any concerns about the symptoms or the disease, consult your health professional, "said Champion.
The national health minister, Aaron Motsoaledi, said that listeriosis is serious and treatable." It is caused by the bacterium. listeria monocytogenes. Bacteria are widely distributed in nature and can be found in soil, water and vegetation.
"In December, in Tshwane, a chicken sample was taken from a patient's refrigerator and tested positive.The chicken goes back to a store and from there goes back to a slaughterhouse. a plan for inspection of food processing facilities, including packaging at distribution plants for larger retailers and inspected for environmental health.
"Practitioners from municipalities initially in the most affected provinces Gauteng, Western Cape, KwaZulu Natal had samples" The results will be used to guide public health interventions to control the prevention of listeriosis. "
Motsoaledi said that although the disease can affect anyone, people who are specifically vulnerable are pregnant women. , the elderly and people with HIV and AIDS, diabetes and chronic diseases such as cancer, kidney and liver diseases. Mothers who have the disease can infect their babies at birth.
"Due to this large number of newborns, a special For health workers and the general public, it is necessary to pay special attention to all pregnant women.To have a high index of suspicion when dealing with a pregnant woman or a newborn, be alert all the time, whether in the prenatal clinic, the delivery room and the neonatal units, "he said.
Motsoaledi said in 2014, they launched a special program called MomConnect, by which they record every pregnant woman on cell phones. They send messages every two weeks, which is proportional to their pregnancy period. "After the birth we changed the messages to the care of the newborn.
Since that time, we have registered 1.96 million pregnant women in that program, now I have instructed that everyone be sent instructions on listeria. pregnant women who sign up at MomConnect, either privately or in public, because it's at times like this when we can reach them faster through messages, "he said.
Dr. Lucia Anelich, a prominent South African Food Microbiologist and food security expert, said the government has the technology, but not the necessary labor and service in rural areas.
"We have the right technology and the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) has been following this since early 2017. However, we are not doing enough, because the health of the government is not reaching everyone. more developed, there are also outbreaks, but they are much better managed and fewer people die, "he said.
Education and communication with homes, restaurants, restaurants and other establishments remains key, said Anelich.