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Health And Welfare

Listerioses outbreak highlights the importance of hand washing

A recent outbreak of Listeriosis has been reported in multiple provinces with a total of 557 cases reported in 2017, compared to an average of 60 and 80 cases in previous years. The source of this outbreak is currently under investigation, however the disease has already claimed 36 fatalities.

In response to the announcement by the government, Lifebuoy is showing its support by driving awareness with the South African public that, in situations like this, the simple act of handwashing can be a lifesaving measure.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has implored anyone displaying symptoms of Listeriosis to seek medical help immediately. Though this disease can be deadly, the majority of people will recover over the course of several days, however, at risk individuals should seek urgent medical care.
“Individuals at high risk of developing severe disease include newborns, the elderly, pregnant women, persons with weak immunity such as HIV, diabetes, cancer, chronic liver or kidney disease,” said Motsoaledi.

There isn’t a vaccine to prevent catching this infection but Listeriosis is treatable and preventable and practicing good hygiene can be key to prevention.

“As a brand that is committed to hygiene to help prevent the spread of disease, we understand how handwashing with soap has the potential to save lives and so we encourage the public to wash their hands regularly and thoroughly and share this important message with those around you to stop the disease spreading further,” said Sphelele Mjadu, Unilever, PR Lead for Africa.

Lifebuoy recommends washing hands with soap using the correct method at key occasions to lessen the risk of infection.


It should take at least 15 seconds to wash your hands – any less and you may not have killed harmful bacteria.
1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (preferably warm) and apply soap.
2. Rub your hands together to make a lather and scrub your hands all over.
3. Continue rubbing your hands for at least 15-30 seconds.
4. Rinse your hands well under running water.
5. Dry your hands on a clean, dry towel to ensure that they don’t get re-contaminated with germs.

Key occasions
Before food preparation
During food preparation
After going to the toilet
At bath-time

This public safety message is courtesy of Lifebuoy.

For more information please visit and

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