Published: Thu, September 06, 2018
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

S Africa declares end of listeria outbreak that killed 200

S Africa declares end of listeria outbreak that killed 200

Consumers are being advised to continue taking food safety precautions, especially when consuming cold meats and other ready-to-eat meat products. "Subsequent to this, on 5 April 2018, the World Health Organisation increased technical support to South Africa and enabled the country to contain the outbreak and strengthened health systems to prevent future outbreaks".

Listeriosis is a serious, yet treatable and preventable disease caused by the bacterium, listeria monocytogenes, which can be found in soil, water and vegetation. However, about 10 percent of outbreak victims were infected with one of at least 19 different strains of Listeria. Listeria had also been identified at an RCL-owned facility (Rainbow Foods).

Motsoaledi said that 62% of the listeriosis cases were in Gauteng, and about 900 health inspectors in all districts were retrained.

He said that the department has alerted municipalities to conduct inspections on fake food.

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They identified 157 factories with listeria, and over 12 000 tons of food was recalled and destroyed. They expect the process will be completed by the end of September.

The Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi on Monday announced that the outbreak of listeriosis in South Africa was over.

"This means for the past three months no new case of listeria of the outbreak strain has been identified and over the last two months the incident rate of laboratory-confirmed listeria cases has dropped to the pre-outbreak levels" said Motsoaledi. Early investigation of groups of cases will detect outbreaks and identity affected food early.

Health officials have shared information about food safety and how to avoid Listeria for persons who are most at risk. "Government and private investigators have not been able to say what the source is", Motsoaledi said.

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