S.Africa declares end of listeria outbreak that killed 200

S.Africa declares end of listeria outbreak that killed 200

The government announced on December 5 a year ago that the country was hit by a listeriosis outbreak that was later traced to two food-processing factories in the country, prompting a recall of 5,812 tonnes of affected food stuffs. The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) was pivotal in assisting with their emergency response plan to control and end the outbreak as well as strengthen systems to prevent further Listeriosis outbreaks.

The NCID's team tasked with finding the source of the outbreak worked relentlessly for months, taking no time off, starting workdays at 05:30 and facing "hectic exhaustion". Listeria had also been identified at an RCL-owned facility (Rainbow Foods). However, about 10 percent of outbreak victims were infected with one of at least 19 different strains of Listeria.

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

On 4 March, Motsoaledi announced that the team had managed to trace the source of the listeriosis outbreak strain, known as ST6, to be from an Enterprise Foods production facility in Polokwane. This ongoing process is expected to continue into September 2018.

And, over the last 2 months, the rate of laboratory-confirmed cases has dropped to pre-outbreak levels.

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Health minister Aaron Motsoaledi on Monday said polony and processed meats are safe again after the department of health in March linked an Enterprise processed meats factory in Polokwane to the listeriosis outbreak.

According to the World Health Organisation, this outbreak was the largest recorded globally to date.

"No cases of listeria, due to the outbreak strain, have been identified since the first week of June 2018", the minister said. This support by WHO is in line with worldwide health regulations.

He also said that despite concerted efforts, investigators have not been able to pinpoint exactly where the outbreak originated.

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