Listeriosis is a serious, but treatable and preventable disease caused by the bacterium, Listeria monocytogenes. The bacteria is widely distributed in nature and can be found in soil, water and vegetation.
Furthermore, animal products and fresh produce such as fruits and vegetables can be contaminated from these sources.
INFECTION WITH LISTERIA MAY RESULT IN THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS
. Flu like illness with diarrhoea including fever, general body pains, vomiting and weakness.
. Infection of the blood stream which is called septiceamia.
. Meningoencephalitis (infection of the brain).
Individuals at high risk of developing severe disease include newborns, the elderly, pregnant women, persons with weak immunity such as HIV, diabetes, cancer, chronic liver or kidney disease.
According to the Department of Health, the age groups that are most affected are neonates, that means the first 28 days of life (37%) and the age group between 15 to 49 years (33%). It states that the two groups comprise 70 per cent of all cases.
For more information on Listeriosos visit www.nicd.ac.za