Listeriosis outbreak traced back to Enterprise factory - Aaron Motsoaledi

Cold meat products are seen in a trolley after they were removed from the shelves of Pick n Pay Store in Johannesburg South Africa

Listeria was also traced to a Rainbow chicken facility in the Free State, but further tests were needed as the sequence type was not yet known. It warned that "a very broad range of retailers" could be affected. This constitutes 27% case fatality rate.

Motsoaledi said South Africa "can now conclude scientifically that the source of the present outbreak is the Enterprise Food production facility located in Polokwane".

The outbreak of listeriosis is one of the largest in the world, claiming 180 lives to date. "In addition, as a precaution, Pick n Pay branded chicken polony, manufactured by Rainbow, is also being withdrawn", the statement added.

In our constant search for the source of the outbreak and the treatment of people who are affected, a team from the NICD has interviewed 109 ill people to obtain details about foods they had eaten in the month before falling ill.

By Jan. 27, NICD had found the same Listeria monocytogenes ST6 strain in Enterprise and RCL products as had been found in stool samples from the ill children. "Customers who bought any Enterprise product (including Bokkie, Renown, Lifestyle, Mieliekip), or any Rainbow ready-to-eat products, e.g., polony or Russians can return the product for a full refund". It can contaminate a wide variety of food types, including meat and meat products, dairy products (unpasteurised and pasteurised), fresh and frozen produce (fruits, vegetables and sprouts) and ready-to-eat products.

"The National Consumer Commission has issued the manufacturer involved [Enterprise] with food recall notices‚" the minister said.

Sunday's general health cautioning and the prepared to-eat meat recalls will probably start to contain the outbreak, yet the truth will surface eventually how rapidly that happens.

Of great concern at the time was that of the hundreds of laboratory confirmed listeriosis cases, less than a quarter could be traced.

Listeria bacteria can sense when it is near other bacteria and secrete a sugary goo.

According to the National Department of Health's "Clinical Guidelines on Management and Control of Foodborne Diseases" issued in 2011 an outbreak is defined as "two or more linked patients presenting with acute gastrointestinal, neurological, hepatic or hemorrhagic manifestation after having a shared/common meal/beverage during the past 72 hours".

Then, in mid January, nine children under the age of five years old arrived at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto with with febrile gastro-enteritis.

Educational awareness campaigns are well under way and any suspected products are being recalled.

- anyone with a weakened immune system (due to HIV infection, cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease, people with transplants and those on immunosuppressive therapy such as oral corticosteroids, chemotherapy, or anti-TNF therapy for auto-immune disease).

National Institute for Communicable Diseases Head Juno Thomas said the public can use bleach to disinfect and thoroughly clean their fridges to avoid contamination.


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