Maputo — The current outbreak of listeriosis in South Africa presents no threat to Mozambique, declared Health Minister Nazira Abdula on Monday.
Speaking to reporters during a tour of Maputo health units, Abdula said the Mozambican government was in contact with the South African health authorities, and was also being kept updated by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
All necessary preventive measures have been taken, she said. “The type of prevention required is within what we are already doing”, she said. Basic preventive measures include respect for the norms of individual and collective hygiene, and ensuring that homes are kept clean.
She urged all citizens suffering from fever, diarrhoea or vomiting (which could be symptoms of listeriosis) to seek immediate medical attention.
Listeriosis is a disease caused by the bacterium listeria monocytogenes, which enters the human body through the consumption of contaminated food. It is a severe form of food poisoning. Symptoms include fever, muscle aches, and sometimes nausea or diarrhoea.
In pregnant women, the infection can result in miscarriage, premature delivery, and serious infection of the infant or even stillbirth.
The South African outbreak of listeriosis is the worst on record, with over 750 confirmed cases, and at least 60 deaths. The source of the outbreak, which began in December, is so far unknown.
Abdula also announced a change in hospital consultation policy, scrapping the principle that hospital appointments will only be held in the mornings. From her visits to the Chamanculo General Hospital and the Bagamoyo and Magoanine health centres, she concluded that the current policy led to enormous queues.
It will therefore be relaxed and appointments may also be held in the afternoon. In fact, this is the expansion of a measure which has already been tried last year in five hospitals in Maputo, Gaza and Inhambane provinces.