[TOP STORY] Health Minister declares Listeriosis outbreak officially over

Image  Robert Herriman

Image Robert Herriman

A joint investigation involving multiple public health agencies and officials.

The minister says all processed ready-to-eat meat products are safe for consumption. On 4 March 2018, we called a press conference where we instructed that all the negative processed meats produced at these facilities be recalled immediately.

The Minister said that at the beginning of the outbreak scientists said that it would be hard to find the source but they managed to trace it.

Listeriosis is a serious, yet treatable and preventable disease caused by the bacterium, listeria monocytogenes, which can be found in soil, water and vegetation.

He said counterfeit goods were an imitation of the original product, while fake foods have been used on social media to refer to products that contain substances such as plastic.

They identified 157 factories with listeria, and over 12 000 tons of food was recalled and destroyed. This ongoing process is expected to continue into September 2018. However, about 10 percent of outbreak victims were infected with one of at least 19 different strains of Listeria.

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"Over the last two months, the incident rate of laboratory-confirmed listeria cases has dropped to the pre-outbreak level". This is why health officials have declared the outbreak officially over.

As of 8 March this year, there were 967 laboratory-confirmed cases reported countrywide since 1 January 2017.

The listeriosis outbreak in South Africa was first noted in October a year ago, when the NICD discovered an increase in listeria throughout South Africa, with more than 365 documented cases.

"This will further strengthen the system to prevent and detect listeriosis outbreaks, including ongoing legislative reform regarding food safety".

Every factory in the country‚ a total of 157‚ that makes processed meat has been inspected by WHO health inspectors and environmental health inspectors.

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