S.Africa declares end of listeria outbreak that killed 200

FILE Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi

South Africa: Listeriosis Outbreak Officially Over - Motsoaledi

Processed meat products were recalled from supermarket shelves across the country, and some countries banned the importing of South African meat products, including chicken, as a result. The country's 157 facilities that produce ready to eat foods have been inspected and have all tested negative - but there is still uncertainty around Enterprise plants in Polokwane and Germiston East of Johannesburg. "I'm here to announce to you officially that we no longer have a listeria outbreak in South Africa". The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) was pivotal in assisting with their emergency response plan to control and end the outbreak as well as strengthen systems to prevent further Listeriosis outbreaks.

Nearly 900 environmental health practitioners from every health district in South Africa have been retrained in factory inspections, food safety systems, and testing of factories for Listeria.

While the department has identified an Enterprise Foods facility in Polokwane as the source of the outbreak, the cause of the listeria bacteria is still unknown.

Motsoaledi said on Monday that 5 812 tons of ready-to-eat processed meat had been recalled and that the total cost of containing the outbreak had come to R12m. This ongoing process is expected to continue into September 2018.

Three months later, at the beginning of March, 180 people had died and just under 1 000 cases had been confirmed.

Motsoaledi says over the last two months, the incidents rate of laboratory confirmed listeria cases has dropped to pre-outbreak levels.

According to the World Health Organisation, this outbreak was the largest recorded globally to date.

He also said that despite concerted efforts, investigators have not been able to pinpoint exactly where the outbreak originated. Early investigation should detect outbreaks faster and identify affected foods quicker.

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