Health Information

Listeriosis

  • 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.

Listeriosis Resources