Listeria monocytogenes. Picture: Centres for Disease Control and Prevention

Johannesburg - Two more people have died from listeriosis in South Africa, raising the death toll to 193, according to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD).

In its weekly update of the outbreak, the institute revealed that since January 1 last year, 81 of those who died were babies younger than 28 days, and 10 were children aged between 1 month and 14 years.

It noted that since the recall on March 4 of ready-to-eat processed meat products manufactured at Enterprise Foods’s Polokwane facility, 43 laboratory-confirmed cases had been reported.

This facility has been identified as the source of the outbreak.

“There have been 24 new laboratory-confirmed cases in the 28 days age group and three new laboratory-confirmed cases in the 1-month to 14 years age group.”

The institute said that as at April 9, a total of 1011 laboratory-confirmed listeriosis cases were reported to the NICD since January 1, 2017.

Most cases were reported from Gauteng, followed by Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal and had been diagnosed in both the public and private healthcare sectors.

“While cases continue to decline, it is expected that some new outbreak-related cases could still be reported, for the following reasons: the incubation period of listeriosis can be up to 70 days; the implicated food products have a long refrigeration shelf life, and it is possible that despite the recall some products were not removed from retail/home settings, and consumption might occur; the possibility of cross-contamination of other types of foods in the retail or home setting may result in additional cases,” said the institute. 

The Saturday Star