More efforts to combat Listeriosis

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Cabinet has announced that Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi will bolster his department’s efforts to combat the Listeriosis outbreak by meeting with the South African Nursing Council on Thursday.

Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane made the announcement at a media briefing on the outcome of the Cabinet meeting held on Wednesday.

The food-borne disease, which was first identified in June 2017, has claimed 180 lives and to date 940 Listeriosis cases have been reported in the country.

“Cabinet extends its heartfelt condolences to the friends and family of those who lost their lives after contracting Listeriosis, and wishes those who are recuperating a speedy recovery,” said Minister Mokonyane on behalf of government.

Efforts by the Department of Health, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases and the World Health Organisation to stop the listeria bacteria from spreading have been hailed by Cabinet.

“The positive progress made in identifying and isolating the source of the deadly Listeriosis outbreak and subsequent recall of food products from three Enterprise and Rainbow meat processing plants where the bacteria was found was a defining moment to stop the outbreak,” said Minister Mokonyane.

Listeriosis is a serious and preventable illness that can be treated successfully with antibiotics.

People who are most at risk to the disease are pregnant women, very young infants, elderly persons and people with a weakened immune system.

Minister Mokonyane on behalf of government urged those who show symptoms of fever, muscle aches, nausea or diarrhoea to visit their medical practitioner or local clinic immediately.

Cabinet has reiterated the Health Department’s call for the public to ensure that they adhere to the five food safety rules which are:

  • Wash hands with soap and water before handling food, and after using a bathroom;
  • Cook food thoroughly and do not eat half-cooked food as the Listeria bacteria will die when food is well cooked;
  • Do not handle raw and cooked food together;
  • Keep food at appropriate temperatures; and
  • Make sure that all milk products are pasteurised or at least parboiled and wash non-cooked food with clean running water before ingestion or at least with pre-boiled water.

“Those with any uncertainty related to Listeriosis may contact the National Institute for Communicable Diseases on 011 386 6400,” said Minister Mokonyane. –


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