6 March 2018

South Africa: 'We Are Not Out of the Woods Yet' - City of Joburg On Listeriosis

Photo: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Microscopic view of Listeriosis bacteria.

The City of Johannesburg will continue to educate the public about the deadly listeriosis outbreak, which has claimed 180 lives in South Africa.

"We are not out of the woods yet," the City's member of the mayoral committee for health and social development Mpho Phalatse said in a statement on Tuesday.

Phalatse congratulated the environmental health team for attending to children at an early childhood centre (ECD) in Soweto who fell ill after consuming cold meat linked to the food-borne outbreak.

"I want to praise our environmental health inspectors for the speed at which they acted to collect food samples for testing from the ECD centre where the children were infected," she said.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said on Sunday the outbreak was traced to Enterprise's Polokwane facility.

A Rainbow Chicken facility in the Free State and an Enterprise facility in Germiston were also singled out, but further tests are being conducted to establish the sequence type.

Concern over 'misinformation on digital platforms'

The outbreak has been described by the World Health Organisation as the biggest documented outbreak of listeria.

Phalatse urged the public to adhere to hygiene standards when handling and preparing food.

She said she was concerned about "misinformation on digital platforms that seeks to put doubts in the campaigns led by the City of Joburg and other spheres of government".

"If we work together and remain vigilant in our own spaces we can stop the spread of listeriosis and avoid unnecessary deaths.

"We are facing huge challenges as wrong information is spreading about listeriosis. That is why it's important that we continue the campaign and educate the public on what preventative steps to take and which foods to avoid," she added.

Meanwhile, the director for environmental health, Peter Manganye, said inspections of formal and informal food outlets would continue, including educational drives across all seven regions of the City.

Source: News24

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