Another baby, 2 adults die of listeriosis - report

2018-03-09 18:51
The recent Listeriosis outbreak already claimed 183 lives in SA.

The recent Listeriosis outbreak already claimed 183 lives in SA.

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Durban – Three more people, including a baby less than a month old, have succumbed to listeriosis, according to the latest report from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD).

The "situation report" on the deadly listeriosis outbreak in South Africa, dated March 8, on the NICD website also revealed that the number of deaths linked to the food-borne disease has now risen to 183.

Senior communications manager at NICD Sinenhlanhla Jimoh on Friday referred News24 to the institute's website for more information on the latest figures.

According to the report, the three victims died in Gauteng, Mpumalanga and the Western Cape.

It stated that a total of 967 cases had been reported since 2017, with 218 cases reported this year.

"Since the last situational update (dated March 3, 2018), 11 additional cases that occurred in 2017 have been identified through laboratory review, and eight additional cases have been reported to the NICD over the last few days. Outcome at the end of hospitalisation is known for an additional 10 cases, bringing the total with known outcome to 669/967 (69%) patients. 183/669 (27%) patients are known to have died."

READ: ‘Not only polony’ plus other don’t-miss Listeriosis stories

The report also urged healthcare workers to continue being vigilant "as persons who have consumed implicated processed meat products over the past few weeks may continue to present with listeriosis".

The report was compiled by the Centre for Enteric Diseases, the National Health Laboratory Service and the NICD's Division of Public Health Surveillance and Response and its Outbreak Response unit.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi announced on Sunday that the outbreak of the disease had been traced to an Enterprise Foods facility in Polokwane. 

Traces of listeria had also been found at another Enterprise facility in Germiston, on the East Rand, and a Rainbow chicken facility in the Free State, but further tests were needed as the sequence type was not yet known.

Among the Enterprise meat products being recalled are polony, Viennas and Frankfurters.


Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa assured South Africans on Friday evening that all foodstuffs contaminated with Listeria were safely disposed of.

The department said the contaminated waste may be accepted for treatment at a licensed incineration, non-burn or co-processing facility, or may be accepted for disposal at a Class A landfill. 

Class A landfills were specially designed and engineered for acceptance of hazardous waste and were not accessible for waste picking.

"Any condition of the respective waste management licence of the receiving facility that may prohibit receipt of such waste will be suspended until such time as all of this waste has been treated and/or disposed of," said the department in a statement.

Waste treatment and disposal facilities, as well as provincial and municipal authorities, had been made aware of these measures.

Molewa was concerned that the recall had caused some panic where residents ended up throwing their food products into their normal domestic waste bins, ending up on Municipal Landfills.

This was before outlets had announced that citizens could bring in affected food products for disposal and refund.

"As we know, with the high levels of waste picking in the country, we could have waste pickers accessing the contaminated food if this food ends up in waste disposal facilities accessible to this group of vulnerable people," she said. 

RCL FOODS said in an update on Friday that it had recalled all its polony products as a precautionary measure from its entire customer base.

These products had been bagged and were waiting upliftment, for disposal.

"Rainbow polony products can be returned to the store where the product was purchased for a full refund. The recall concerns only polony. All other Rainbow Chicken products produced at our other plants are not subject to this recall. This includes fresh & frozen products," the update read.

"All our product samples analysed at an independent laboratory have to date tested negative for Listeria. We await our results for environmental swabs which would include DNA analysis. We have requested the detailed reports from the Department of Health on the tests conducted to date."

Read more on:    listeriosis  |  health

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