The Ministry of Health and Child Care says Zimbabwe has not recorded any case of listeriosis.

The outbreak of the disease which is being experienced in South Africa since the beginning of the year is still confined to that country and has not spread to Zimbabwe.

The authorities in that country have managed to trace the diseases to a source which is known and has been named.

The ministry said the foods that are spreading the disease in South Africa are also known and measures are being taken so that those perishable goods don’t circulate and end up being consumed.

Listeriosis is a rare food borne disease found in 10 cases per one million people and is spread from consumption of foods that are contaminated by the bacteria listeria monocytogenes.

These high risk foods include ready-to-eat meat products such as cooked, cured and/or fermented meats, and sausages, soft cheeses and cold smoked fishery products and dairy products made of unpasteurised milk. 

Corned meat

The disease can also be spread from one person who is sick to others by sharing food or through contact.

When one is infected, the disease takes a few days to weeks generally up to two weeks to start showing to those affected.

Pregnant women, infants, the elderly and those with suppressed immune system are at risk of getting the disease.


Signs and symptoms of the disease are:

–  Diarrhoea

–  High fever > 38o

–  Headache

–  Myalgia (muscle pain)

–  High mortality rate (20%–30%)

–  Complications such as septicaemia and meningitis

The Health Ministry added that people can avoid contracting the diseases by practising good personal hygiene, washing hands at all times before eating and handling foods or after using the toilet.

The following are measures that the Ministry of Health and Child Care has taken:

  • Cross border collaboration and sharing of information on disease outbreak with our neighbour is being strengthened. International Health Regulations (IHR) 2005 prohibits trade restriction due disease outbreaks.