The bacteria is widely distributed in nature and can be found in soil, water and vegetation.
In a statement about the outbreak, Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi said private healthcare facilities accounted for 34% of cases, while 66% came from public health facilities.
The minister said those who contract the disease will have flu-like symptoms including diarrhoea, fever, general body pains and weakness.
This can lead to septicaemia and meningoencephalitis‚ which is an infection of the brain.
Head of the Centre for Enteric Diseases at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), Dr Juno Thomas said the number of deaths will increase as they receive final outcome data on the reported cases.
A food borne disease has killed 36 people in South Africa, with more than 520 more infected.
The department has not found the origin of the outbreak but suspects food contamination at the source, such as farms or food processing plants.
People with compromised immune systems, like some of those living with AIDS and pregnant women, are also at a heightened risk, according to the World Health Organization.
The source of this outbreak is now being investigated, and all the stakeholders are cooperating with the investigation led by the NICD.
According to the NICD, there have been a total of 557 confirmed cases from all the provinces, the majority occurring in Gauteng.
Motsoaledi said the cause of the outbreak was now being investigated and urged South Africans to wash their hands and keep food at safe temperatures.
The Western Cape had reported 71 cases, followed by KwaZulu-Natal with 37 cases.