SOUTH AFRICA’S LISTERIOSIS OUTBREAK HAS CLAIMED 172 LIVES

PRETORIA– The Listeriosis outbreak in South Africa has claimed 172 lives and the source of the outbreak still remains unknown, says the National Health Laboratory Service in its latest update.

As of 20 February, 2018, 915 laboratory-confirmed cases of Listeriosis have been reported to the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) since 1 January, 2017. So far, the outbreak has already claimed 172 lives. Unfortunately, the source of the outbreak still remains unknown, the service said in a statement Thursday.

It added that Gauteng Province accounted for 59 per cent of reported cases, followed by Western Cape Province with 12 per cent and KwaZulu-Natal with 7.0 per cent.

Listeria is a bacterium which is naturally found in the environment. It commonly occurs in soil, water, vegetation and in the faeces of some animals. It can contaminate a wide variety of food types, including meat and meat products, dairy products, both pasteurised and non-pasteurised, fresh and frozen produce and ready-to-eat products.

This fact, coupled with a variable incubation period which can range from six hours to 70 days, poses a major challenge in determining the source of the outbreak, said the National Health Laboratory Service.

It said various stakeholders, including numerous government departments, the healthcare sector, the veterinary public health sector, and the food industry are working around the clock to find the source of the outbreak.

Specialised tests are being conducted by experts at the NICD laboratories to assist in detecting the source as soon as possible.

The NICD is optimistic that the source of this outbreak will be found, and urges members of the public not to panic unnecessarily. Members of the public are urged to be vigilant all the time by observing the above guidelines, and to assist health authorities by spreading the message as widely as possible. Those in doubt must consult their nearest healthcare practitioners, said the service.

Members of the public are encouraged to practise the World Health Organisation’s five measures to safer food: — washing hands and surfaces before, and regularly during food preparation; separating raw and cooked food, and not mixing utensils and surfaces when preparing food; cooking food thoroughly; keeping food at safe temperatures, either simmering hot or in the fridge; and using safe water and safe ingredients to prepare food.

People who are at high risk of developing Listeriosis include pregnant women, adults over 65 years, and people with weakened immune systems such as those living with HIV/AIDS, cancer, kidney or liver disease, diabetes, or persons on medication that weakens the immune system.

This group of people is advised to avoid foods that have more commonly been linked to outbreaks of Listeriosis. These include processed, ready-to-eat meat products, soft cheeses, and unpasteurised milk and dairy products.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

SOUTH AFRICA’S LISTERIOSIS OUTBREAK HAS CLAIMED 172 LIVES

PRETORIA– The Listeriosis outbreak in South Africa has claimed 172 lives and the source of the outbreak still remains unknown, says the National Health Laboratory Service in its latest update.

As of 20 February, 2018, 915 laboratory-confirmed cases of Listeriosis have been reported to the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) since 1 January, 2017. So far, the outbreak has already claimed 172 lives. Unfortunately, the source of the outbreak still remains unknown, the service said in a statement Thursday.

It added that Gauteng Province accounted for 59 per cent of reported cases, followed by Western Cape Province with 12 per cent and KwaZulu-Natal with 7.0 per cent.

Listeria is a bacterium which is naturally found in the environment. It commonly occurs in soil, water, vegetation and in the faeces of some animals. It can contaminate a wide variety of food types, including meat and meat products, dairy products, both pasteurised and non-pasteurised, fresh and frozen produce and ready-to-eat products.

This fact, coupled with a variable incubation period which can range from six hours to 70 days, poses a major challenge in determining the source of the outbreak, said the National Health Laboratory Service.

It said various stakeholders, including numerous government departments, the healthcare sector, the veterinary public health sector, and the food industry are working around the clock to find the source of the outbreak.

Specialised tests are being conducted by experts at the NICD laboratories to assist in detecting the source as soon as possible.

The NICD is optimistic that the source of this outbreak will be found, and urges members of the public not to panic unnecessarily. Members of the public are urged to be vigilant all the time by observing the above guidelines, and to assist health authorities by spreading the message as widely as possible. Those in doubt must consult their nearest healthcare practitioners, said the service.

Members of the public are encouraged to practise the World Health Organisation’s five measures to safer food: — washing hands and surfaces before, and regularly during food preparation; separating raw and cooked food, and not mixing utensils and surfaces when preparing food; cooking food thoroughly; keeping food at safe temperatures, either simmering hot or in the fridge; and using safe water and safe ingredients to prepare food.

People who are at high risk of developing Listeriosis include pregnant women, adults over 65 years, and people with weakened immune systems such as those living with HIV/AIDS, cancer, kidney or liver disease, diabetes, or persons on medication that weakens the immune system.

This group of people is advised to avoid foods that have more commonly been linked to outbreaks of Listeriosis. These include processed, ready-to-eat meat products, soft cheeses, and unpasteurised milk and dairy products.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK