Heartbreak after infection causes woman to miscarry her baby

A family that lost a baby bought a hamper from an outlet in Germiston. /Alaister Russell
A family that lost a baby bought a hamper from an outlet in Germiston. /Alaister Russell

A woman who lost her unborn child due to listeriosis experienced severe fever leading up to her miscarriage.

The 29-year-old mother of one from Midrand, north of Johannesburg, spoke to Sowetan yesterday but asked not to be named.

The latest statistics on the outbreak reflect that 78 of the 180 people killed by the disease were infants while pregnant women have been listed among high-risk groups.

The woman, who was four-months pregnant, fell sick on October 26.

"On the day, I was sitting in my office when I started feeling cold. It got worse and I started to shiver. I was feeling breathless," she said.

The woman was taken to the company's clinic and later rushed to hospital. At first doctors thought she had pneumonia, but blood tests confirmed she was infected with listeriosis. Doctors then decided to admit her.

"That night I didn't sleep. I kept feeling cold and I was begging the nurses for blankets," she said.

The following day the woman started feeling pains and asked to see a gynaecologist. Later on, the pains worsened.

"My gown felt wet and when I got up to check I felt a heavy weight between my legs. The foetus just came out and there was blood everywhere. I was screaming and I didn't know what was happening."

Hospital staff rushed to her aid but it was too late. "I lost my baby just like that, I could not believe it.

"I kept telling my husband how much I could not wait to see our new-born baby. But now I feel like a part of me has been taken away from me."

After recent information came out linking the outbreak to a Tiger Brands' subsidiary Enterprise factory in Polokwane, which has an outlet in Germiston, they realised she might have contracted it from consuming polony as her husband used to buy a hamper from the outlet.

The woman said she had not considered a lawsuit. "I don't think compensation will help. It won't bring my child back."

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