An outbreak of food-borne listeria bacteria had claimed 36 lives and infected almost 600 people in SA, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said on Tuesday. Newborns and the elderly were especially at risk. Listeriosis is a preventable disease caused by listeria monocytogenes bacteria, which are typically transferred through contaminated food and are readily treatable with antibiotics. A total of 557 cases have been confirmed so far, according to Motsoaledi. "The bacteria is widely distributed in nature and can be found in soil, water and vegetation," he told a media briefing in Pretoria. "The following foodstuffs can be contaminated and cause the disease: meat and all animal products, fruits and vegetables." Contamination in humans could result in a flu-like illness, infection of the bloodstream and, in severe cases, infection of the brain, which could prove fatal, he added. People with compromised immune systems, like some of those living with HIV/AIDS and pregnant women, are also at ...

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