Listeriosis UK

Flickr / NIAID

Listeriosis update: 50 new cases since product recall

More new cases have been confirmed since the source of the outbreak was traced.

Listeriosis UK

Flickr / NIAID

The National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) has revealed that a further 50 cases of listeriosis have been recorded since infected food products were recalled from shops last month.

In what is the largest listeriosis outbreak in recorded history, the death toll hit 193, with over 1019 confirmed cases.

The source of the outbreak was traced to an Enterprise Foods factory in Polokwane, which processes deli meats.

According to the NICD report, 24 of the new cases were infants younger than four weeks old – who also make up almost half of the total confirmed cases, while three cases involved children aged between a month and 14 years.

Despite the source of the outbreak being found and products being recalled, it’s still expected that more outbreak-related cases will be reported.

This is due to the disease’s 70-day incubation period and the possibility of cross-contamination of other foods in retail outlets and in homes.

Also read: Listeriosis – Tiger Brands close Pretoria factory due to listeria discovery

The outbreak was declared by Health Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi in December last year, and his department has since formed an incident management team with the aim of strengthening health systems to prevent future outbreaks.

The disease was traced after several children presented with gastroenteritis in Soweto earlier in the week. After tests were conducted, it was confirmed that they had listeriosis.

The source of the outbreak was found in March, and people were advised to return their products for a full refund in some retailers.

Neighbouring countries such as Zimbabwe banned cold meat products from South Africa, while Zambia called on SA retail chains in its country to pull the tainted goods from their shelves.


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