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Death toll in South Africa listeria outbreak jumps to 61

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At least 61 people have died from a year-long outbreak of listeriosis, caused by a food-borne bacteria in South Africa as revealed by the country’s health minister Monday.

The disease, Listeriosis is caused by Listeria monocytogenes, a naturally-occurring germ typically transferred through contaminated food, although it is readily treatable with antibiotics. A total of 727 cases have been confirmed since January 2017, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said in a statement.

As of December 5, the confirmed death toll stood at 36, but has since risen to 61 because of the disease’s “rapid spread and unusual or unexpected behaviour”, it has been elevated to the country’s list of intensively monitored, serious conditions, Motsoaledi added.

A poultry abattoir in the capital Pretoria was identified by health officials as suffering from listeriosis contamination but it was unclear whether the facility was the source of the outbreak, the statement said.

Listeria bacteria can be found in soil, water, vegetation and the feces of some animals.  Contamination in humans can result in flu-like illness, infection of the bloodstream and, in severe cases, infection of the brain which can prove fatal. People with compromised immune systems, like some of those living with AIDS and pregnant women, are at a heightened risk, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Health & Lifestyle

Soft Drink after hot exercise endangers kidney.

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Downing a cool soft drink after a hot workout can feel refreshing. However, according to the latest research, it may cause further dehydration and interfere with kidney function.

Caffeinated soft drinks that are high in fructose are hugely popular worldwide. They need no introduction.



The beverages have been widely lambasted for their potential role in both the obesity and diabetes crises, and a recent study may add a fresh health risk to the growing list.

Researchers from the University at Buffalo in New York recently assessed soft drinks’ impact on kidney health when consumed during and after physical exertion.

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When we exercise in a hot environment, blood that flows through the kidneys is reduced. This helps regulate blood pressure and conserve water. It is a normal response and causes no harm.

However, in clinical settings, a steep drop in blood flow through the kidneys can cause acute kidney injury (AKI) because of the accompanying drop in oxygen supply to the tissues.

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Earlier studies have shown that exercise, in general, but particularly in higher temperatures, increases biomarkers of AKI.

At the same time, research also indicates that consuming a high-fructose soft drink increases AKI risk in rats experiencing dehydration.

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Somalia empowers President to appoint foreigner as Central bank governor.

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Somali lawmakers voted on Monday to allow the president to appoint a foreigner as governor of the central bank of the volatile Horn of Africa nation.



Previously only a citizen could be appointed to the role as is the case across much of the continent. The vote was held in the lower house of the parliament.

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An overwhelming majority of lawmakers (158) voted for the change as proposed by the government of President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo and Prime Minister Ali Hassan Khayre.

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Seventeen MPs kicked against the move even though the government justified the proposal by saying the country needed every available expertise to change its fortunes.

Even though there is no known foreign candidate for the role, a presidential assent – which is seen as procedural – will see government headhunt for a a new bank chief.

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