‘Don’t take listeriosis lightly’

2018-03-13 06:01
Health minister Nomafrench Mbombo (middle) engaging vendors at Wynberg taxi rank on listeriosisPHOTO:TIYESE JERANJI

Health minister Nomafrench Mbombo (middle) engaging vendors at Wynberg taxi rank on listeriosisPHOTO:TIYESE JERANJI

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Western Cape health minister, Doctor Nomafrench Mbombo, was at Wynberg taxi rank for a Listeriosis Awareness Drive on Friday.

Listeriosis is a disease caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. This bacterium is widely found in soil, water and contaminated animal products, fruits and vegetables.

Mbombo engaged with taxi commuters and vendors at the rank to create awareness and prevent further infections.

The Western Cape has 115 confirmed cases reported to the Provincial Communicable Disease Centre for 2017/2018. Of these, 88 are from various areas within the Cape Metro, and 29 deaths have been reported.

During her walkabout, Mbombo said the visit highlighted that everyone needs to be aware of this pandemic and how serious it is. The disease has vague symptoms which may include fever, tiredness, body aches and sometimes nausea or diarrhoea. Most vulnerable are pregnant women, those over 65 years of age, and those with a weak or compromised immune system.

Mbombo says people must not take these symptoms lightly.

“If you feel any of the above, please rush off to the clinic immediately. Don’t take anything lightly. We are also urging people around here who sell food to ensure that they wash their hands and maintain a clean work area so that we stop the spread of the disease. We want everyone to be careful,” she said.

Following the announcement that the source of the listeriosis outbreak has been identified, the City of Cape Town’s environmental health practitioners said they will assist with the recall of products. Investigations have identified the Enterprise production plant in Polokwane as the source. The Enterprise processing plant in Gauteng and the Rainbow Chickens processing plant in Sasolburg have not been definitively implicated.

Mayco member for safety, security and social services, JP Smith, said in a statement that the City’s environmental health practitioners will visit smaller outlets to establish if they are aware of the recall and to record volumes of products being kept on site.

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