Listeria  monocytogenes. Picture: Centres for Disease Control and Prevention
Listeria monocytogenes. Picture: Centres for Disease Control and Prevention

Deadly #listeriosis outbreak 'largest ever in South Africa'

By Rusana Philander Time of article published Jan 16, 2018

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Cape Town - According to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), six more people have died after contracting listeria.

The NICD said it is the largest documented listeriosis outbreak South Africa has ever experienced.

They said all available resources are being directed to outbreak investigation activities and interventions.

The departments of Health, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and Trade and Industry are working closely with agriculture and food industry stakeholders to intensify investigation efforts aimed at identifying the possible source of the outbreak, while enhancing food safety interventions.

The NICD recently confirmed 748 cases and that 67 people have died. Most of the cases were reported in Gauteng followed by the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.

A total of 18 people have died due to the listeria outbreak in the Western Cape. This comes after 92 people contracted the disease in the province.

It commonly occurs in soil, water, vegetation and in the faeces of some animals. It can contaminate a wide variety of food types, including meat and meat products, dairy products (unpasteurised and pasteurised), fresh and frozen produce (fruits, vegetables and sprouts) and ready-to-eat products.

This fact, coupled with a variable incubation period that can range from 6 hours to 70 days, poses a major challenge in determining the source of the outbreak.

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Cape Argus

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