On Thursday morning, 18 January, Member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC), Dr Mpho Phalatse, led an awareness campaign to educate and engage members of the public on listeriosis.
The MMC hit Park Station and urged residents to get familiar with the causes, symptoms, and preventable measures to prevent further loss of lives.
Phalatse said that as South Africa’s and Johannesburg’s transport hub, Park Station was the perfect place to reach the masses as it attracts thousands of commuters from across the province and the country.
The MMC also handed out pamphlets to guide members of the public on foods that are at risk of listeria contamination, symptoms and preventable measures.
“It is important that we continue to educate and inform our communities about the dangers posed by listeriosis,” said Phalatse while distributing pamphlets about listeriosis.
“If we work together and be vigilant in our own spaces we can stop the spread of listeriosis and avoid unnecessary deaths. We are facing huge challenges as wrong information is spreading about listeriosis. That is why it’s important that we continue the campaign.”
Some of the food at risk of listeria contamination include cheese, cold meat, chicken, pate, fruit and vegetables, salads and seafood.
Listeriosis symptoms include:
Flu-like illnesses, fever, muscle aches and sometimes nausea or diarrhoea.
Symptoms such as headaches, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, or convulsions can occur if the infection spreads to the nervous system.
It is known to occur in children, the elderly or people with other health problems and a weak immune system.
Listeria can invade the central nervous system, causing meningitis and/or encephalitis (brain infection)
Infected pregnant women mostly experience only a mild flu-like illness, however, infection during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage.
Five keys to safer food:
Keep food clean
Separate raw and cooked food
Cook food thoroughly
Keep food at safe temperatures
Use safe water.
As of the 16 January, a total of 764 listeriosis cases have been reported across the country, with the City of Joburg reporting 212 cases with 19 deaths so far.