S/Africa identifies source of deadly listeriosis outbreak

Ebony Scott
March 5, 2018

While the report named water as the potential source, the claim was strongly refuted by Health Department Spokesperson, Sizwe Kupelo.

You might say the source of South Africa's deadly Listeria outbreak was hiding in plain sight, but it took the deaths of 180 people before the Health Minister could collect enough evidence to name the culprits. He told pregnant women to avoid any processed meat "like the plague".

"Customers who bought any Enterprise product (including Bokkie‚ Renown‚ Lifestyle‚ Mieliekip) or any Rainbow ready-to-eat products‚ such as polony or Russians‚ can return the product for a full refund".

"Avoid all processed meats products that are sold as ready to eat‚" said Motsoaledi. This is because Listeria on the exterior casing (packaging) of polony can be transferred to other products it comes into contact with, including viennas, russians, frankfurters, other sausages, and other "cold meat" products that are typically not cooked before eating.

The cause of the outbreak strain ST6 was confirmed in 16 environmental samples collected from the Enterprise facility. "We are working very closely with the officials at present to conduct the process and will provide updates to the public on this matter", Tiger Brands spokesperson Nevashnee Naicker said in a statement.

On Sunday, Tiger Brands said on their Twitter handle that all Enterprise products would be removed. It is also recalling all of its polony brands. This action is taking place in all Pick n Pay and Boxer stores. The environmental health practitioners (EHPs) were informed and on the same day visited the crèche, and obtained samples from two unrelated polony brands (manufactured by Enterprise and Rainbow Chicken Limited (RCL) respectively) and submitted these to the laboratory for testing.

"All fridges and food preparation areas in our stores will now be re-cleaned to prevent any cross-contamination". Recalled meat was being isolated and would be safely destroyed.

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"Following the Minister of Health's announcement earlier this afternoon on the source of the listeria outbreak, Pick n Pay has acted immediately to withdraw all products from the manufacturing sites identified by the Department of Health".

Compliance notices will be issued to facilities in terms of the National Health Act.

A listeriosis outbreak in Soweto provided the breakthrough in tracing the bacterial outbreak. He warned that two other sites could also be affected.

Nationally, provincial outbreak response teams are to be created as a way to expedite and ensure proper follow through of procedures.

Most of the current cases have been in Gauteng province, which includes the cities of Johannesburg and Pretoria, with other cases concentrated in Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces.

As of 02 March 2018, a total of laboratory-confirmed cases have risen to 948, still counting from January 2017.

The Eastern Cape Department of Health was approached regarding public awareness and education efforts but have not yet commented at this time.

Other reports by GizPress

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