Three more people are known to have died of listeriosis‚ including a baby younger than a month old‚ bringing the death toll to 183.
Of those who died‚ 79 are babies; seven are children aged between one and 14.
The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) released the latest listeriosis update in a statement on Thursday evening.
South Africa is currently in the middle of the world’s largest documented outbreak of listeriosis‚ a disease caused by ingesting listeria monocytogenes bacteria found in contaminated food.
Processed meat and polony have been implicated as the killers‚ after 26 samples of the deadly listeria ST6 strain were found in the Tiger Brands’s Enterprise Food factory in Polokwane.
The products to blame have been recalled.
The NICD update said that data collection was ongoing‚ so the numbers change daily.
Since the last update a week ago‚ more information has come to light‚ increasing the known number of patients to 967. A total of 11 cases from 2017 have been identified as new laboratory information is reviewed. Additionally‚ in the past week‚ eight more cases have been reported to the NICD.
Most people who eat food contaminated with listeria do not get sick or develop symptoms‚ but those in vulnerable groups could be severely affected. The disease affects pregnant women‚ the elderly and those with compromised immune systems‚ such as HIV and cancer patients.
The NICD has asked doctors and nurses “to continue with vigilance for new cases as persons who have consumed implicated processed meat products over the past few weeks may continue to present with listeriosis”.