Cabinet has appealed to all citizens to take the necessary precautions to curb the spread of Listeriosis, as investigations continue to establish the source of the bacterium.
It is believed the source of the outbreak is likely to be a food product consumed by people across all socio-economic groups.
The disease is caused by a bacterium found in soil, water, vegetation and non-pasteurised dairy products, and may result in flu-like symptoms with diarrhoea. It can be successfully treated with antibiotics, if detected early.
From 1 January to 29 November 2017, a total of 557 laboratory-confirmed Listeriosis cases have been reported in all provinces. Most cases have been reported from Gauteng, with 345 (62%) cases, followed by the Western Cape with 71 cases (13%) and KwaZulu-Natal with 37 cases (7%). The remaining 18% is distributed in the remaining six provinces.
"Cabinet appeals to all people to take the necessary precautions such as washing their hands before preparing food and avoiding raw or uncooked foods," Communications Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane said during a post Cabinet media briefing in Tshwane on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Cabinet also called on South Africans to continue using water sparingly as the country continues to experience drought.
Despite the recent rains, dam levels nationally continue to decline due to high temperatures as the country did not yet have consistent rains.
Negotiations on water debt
Minister Kubayi-Ngubane said Cabinet is encouraged by the progressive negotiations with highly indebted municipalities towards finding a solution to their debt.
The Department of Water and Sanitation is owed around R2.7 billion by some water boards and municipalities.
During a meeting with the Portfolio Committee on Water and Sanitation held in Cape Town last week, the department said it was confident that debt re-arrangement is still possible, as seen by the positive response by a large number of municipalities that have already engaged the department to make payment arrangements.
Last Friday, the Emfuleni Local Municipality committed to paying R150 million to Rand Water on 11 December.