- Listeriosis is caused by a BACTERIA called Listeria monocytogenes.
- It is one of the leading bacterial causes of food-borne deaths in the world.
- South Africa has recently seen a tremendous increase in the number of reported cases.
- The most common foods to be contaminated are raw or unpasteurised milk as well as soft cheeses‚ vegetables‚ processed foods and ready-to-eat meats and smoked fish products.
- People who are especially at risk include the very young, the old, the immunocompromised and pregnant women.
- Symptoms reported by non-pregnant patients include gastro-enteritis, headache, seizures, confusion and a stiff neck. (Meningism)
- Pregnant women usually only get flu like symptoms. However, maternal infection can lead to health issues in the baby, including miscarriage, preterm delivery and severe infection – ±30% of current cases in the RSA is in new-borns.
- Symptoms usually commence 1 – 4 weeks after ingestion of contaminated food.
- There is no vaccine available but the disease responds to commonly available antibiotics.
- If you believe that either you or a loved one has symptoms suggestive of Listeriosis, contact your health care provider immediately.