What you need to know about the listeriosis outbreak

BSIP  UIG                       Listeria denitrificans viewed under SEM. Magnification 10000x

BSIP UIG Listeria denitrificans viewed under SEM. Magnification 10000x

Following the lead from the tests performed on these children from Soweto and the food they had ingested, the EHPs (Environmental Health Practitioners), together with the NICD and DAFF representatives, accompanied by 3 technical advisors from the World Health Organisation in Geneva, visited a food-production site in Polokwane and conducted an extensive food product and environmental sampling.

Of the people interviewed 85% had eaten some sort of ready-to-eat processed meat, Motsoaledi said, mostly polony.

"Enterprise and Rainbow supply a very broad range of retailers across South Africa".

The Shoprite Group confirmed on Sunday that it has started to remove the products of Enterprise Foods and Rainbow Chicken from its shelves. The city is the capital of South Africa's Limpopo province. "The outbreak strain, ST6, was confirmed in at least 16 environmental samples collected from this Enterprise facility", he said.

"We are urgently withdrawing them from our stores", Tamra Capstick-Dale, said in a statement on behalf of the grocer. Enterprise says it is cooperating fully.

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"Investigation of the Rainbow Chicken Limited Wolwehoek production facility is also under way".

Spokesperson Popo Maja said it would be announced at a press conference at the National Institute of Communicable Diseases at midday. It can take up to 70 days after exposure for listeriosis symptoms to develop.

"You are most welcome to return any Enterprise Foods and Rainbow Chicken cold meat products for a refund".

Motsoaledi said it was at that stage of the investigation that officials chose to "visit all food-processing sites, food-packaging sites as well as food production sites where possible". "Another factory is a factory in Sasolburg, Free State where polony tested positive for Listeria, but the strain is unconfirmed", he said.

No pregnant women should eat any processed meat products such as viennas and polony‚ the health minister warned. Recalled meat is being isolated and will be safely destroyed. Lucia Anelich, a microbiologist and prominent South African food safety expert, said it is the worst foodborne outbreak "in global history".

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News24 last month reported that statistics at the time showed the outbreak had claimed a total of 172 lives and 915 laboratory-confirmed cases had been reported to the NICD since January 1, 2017.

Hundreds more might have died before the listeriosis outbreak was identified, were it not for a "serendipitous meeting" in the corridor of the Chris Baragwanath hospital in 2017, according to Times Select.

The death toll stood at 172 as recently as February 22.

Additionally‚ more than one Enterprise Factory was implicated. This constitutes a 27% fatality rate.

Maple Leaf found mechanical meat slicers at its ready-to-eat meat plant spread the bacteria across Canada.

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