SOUTH AFRICA FORMS SPECIAL TEAM, DEVELOPS PLAN TO TACKLE FUTURE LISTERIOSIS OUTBREAKS

PRETORIA– South Africa’s health authorities have formed a multisectoral incident management team (IMT) and developed a listeria emergency response plan to help strengthen the health system to prevent future outbreaks of listeriosis.

The National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) says the number of cases of laboratory-confirmed Listeriosis reported per week has dropped since the implicated products were recalled on March 4, 2018, with eight additional cases reported this week. Of the eight cases, one case occurred in October 2017 and was retrospectively reported.

In March, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi announced that ready-to-eat cold meat products by Enterprise Foods were the culprits for the current Listeriosis outbreak in the country. Another facility, Rainbow Chicken Limited (RCL), tested positive for listeria, samples from this facility were not the same strain linked to the outbreak.

The cause of the outbreak, strain ST6 was confirmed in 16 environmental samples collected from an Enterprise Foods facility.

Processed meat products such as polony, viennas, russians, frankfurters, sausages and cold meat products were listed as affected and recalled by the Minister.

Since the recall, a total of 50 cases have been reported, twenty-four (48 per cent) of which were among babies who are less than 28 days old. Three were children age one month to 14 years old.

As of April 17, 2018, a total of 1,019 laboratory-confirmed Listeriosis cases have been reported to the NICD since Jan 1, last year.

Gauteng Province is still leading with the most recorded outbreaks with 59 per cent of reported cases, followed by Western Cape Province with 13 per cent and KwaZulu-Natal Province with seven per cent.

Listeriosis is a bacterial infection which can cause severe illness, including severe sepsis, meningitis, or encephalitis, sometimes resulting in lifelong harm and even death.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK