Listeriosis in the City of Johannesburg, South Africa

Peter Manganye, B Desai, M Daka, R Bismillah



 Listeriosis is a food-borne disease caused by food contaminated with the Listeria monocytogenes (L. monocytogenes) bacterium. L. monocytogenes is found in soil, vegetation and water. There are six species of Listeria, but only L. Monocytogenes causes disease in humans. It is a relatively rare disease, with 0.1 - 10 cases per million people per year, depending on the country or region of the world. The World Health Organization believes that South Africa’s (SA’s) current listeria outbreak is the largest ever in the world. The National Institute of Communicable Diseases reported that as of 28 February 2018, there had been 943 laboratory-confirmed cases of listeriosis in SA, and 176 deaths from the disease. As of March 2018, the City of Johannesburg (CoJ) has had a total of 251 cases (26% of total cases), with an incidence of 51 cases per 1 million, and a case fatality rate of 15%. The age group 15 - 49 is the most badly affected, followed by neonates >28 days old. A detailed outbreak preparedness and response plan to prevent listeriosis and promote good hygiene was developed which emphasised the fact that the main preventive measure is to always ensure that good basic hygiene is followed. The CoJ is committed to continuing the management and control of listeriosis according to the National Department of Health communicable disease guidelines and surveillance policy, which includes the provision and management of primary healthcare to all patients presenting with suspected listeriosis at facilities, and conducting regular preventive and promotive activities/measures to create community awareness. 

Authors' affiliations

Peter Manganye, City of Johannesburg Health Department, South Africa

B Desai, City of Johannesburg Health Department, South Africa

M Daka, City of Johannesburg Health Department, South Africa

R Bismillah, City of Johannesburg Health Department, South Africa

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Southern African Journal of Public Health (incorporating Strengthening Health Systems) 2018;2(3):55-58. DOI:10.7196/SHS.2018.v2i3.73

Article History

Date submitted: 2018-06-04
Date published: 2018-06-04

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