The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, has alerted the Nigerian public to the cases of listeriosis in South Africa which has infected 727 and killed at least 61 people in South Africa in the last one month.
In a statement by the spokesperson for the ministry, Mrs. Boade Akinola, the minister called for increased vigilance at the points of entry into the country by the relevant officials while directing the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control, to increase their surveillance and monitoring of food items to ensure compliance with safety guidelines.
According to the statement, port health officials have also been put on the alert.
The statement read in part, “The Nigerian public are advised to wash their fruits and vegetables properly and ensure meats are well cooked before consumption. Nigerians are advised to be calm as the Federal Government is monitoring the development in South Africa and would be properly advised when need be.”
Listeriosis is food-poisoning disease caused by eating food items such as meat, dairy products, fruits and vegetables contaminated by Listeria Monocystogene
The disease primarily affects older adults, persons with weakened immune systems, pregnant women, and newborns.
According to Wikipedia, people without these risk factors can also be affected but it is rare.
A person with listeriosis usually has fever and muscle aches, often preceded by diarrhoea or other gastrointestinal symptoms. Almost everyone who is diagnosed with listeriosis has invasive infection, meaning that the bacteria spread from their intestines to their blood stream or other body sites.
The disease may occur as much as two months after eating contaminated food.
The symptoms vary with the infected person but mainly include: Muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, diarrhoea, and convulsions.