March 17, 2018

Listeriosis outbreak: What you need to know

05 March 2018, 10:55 | Rodolfo Wallace

Listeriosis outbreak: What you need to know

Ready-to-Eat Processed Meat: Source of South Africa's Listeria Outbreak

The risk of cross-contamination is why South Africa issued the broader public warning. The retail chain said it would also withdraw Pick n Pay chicken polony.

The outbreak of listeriosis is one of the largest in the world, claiming 180 lives to date. 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.

Results from the factory tests should have taken just over two weeks but a shortage of solution used for testing listeria in the country delayed results‚ said National Institute for Communicable Diseases Dr Juno Thomas. Preliminary results showed that several ready to eat processed meat products from the Enterprise facility in Germiston in Gauteng contained listeriosis monocytogenes, but the sequence type was not yet known.

Motsoaledi said retailers must clean their fridges, meat slicers, and either remove the ready-to-eat meat products or place them in plastic bags in separate fridges - ahead of the recall.

Motsoaledi said the National Consumer Commission has issued safety recall notices to the affected manufacturers and facilities, and the companies are now responsible for coming up with the recall plan. "However, such contamination of ready-to-eat processed meat products constitutes a health risk", said Motsoaledi.

"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".

More than 300 samples were taken from the factory and 16 tested positive for listeria monocytogenes strain ST6‚ the strain most to blame for this outbreak.

Listeriosis outbreak: What you need to know
Listeriosis outbreak: What you need to know

Listeria on the exterior casing (packaging) can be transferred to other products such as "cold meat" items typically not cooked before eating.

This is what most of the patients in the outbreak that killed 180 people were infected with.

JOHANNESBURG - The Department of Health has discovered the source of the listeriosis outbreak.

Together with the Public Service Accountability Monitoring (PSAM) Grocott's Mail has attempted to get clarity from the Makana Sub-District of the Eastern Cape Department of Health on monitoring and containment of listeriosis in Makana, as well as further confirmation of cases. The public is warned that foods such as polony are implicated, with a probable chance that this may contaminate other ready-to-eat foods.

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

Educational awareness campaigns are well under way and any suspected products are being recalled. The minister reiterated his call for high risk people such as pregnant women, very young infants, elderly persons and anyone with a weakened immune system due to HIV and cancer to completely avoid all processed meat. The problem was a design flaw that inhibited thorough cleaning.

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