The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) says eight additional Listeriosis cases have been reported in the past week.
“Since the last situational update on 3 March 2018, 11 additional cases that occurred in 2017 have been identified through laboratory review, and eight additional cases have been reported to the NICD over the last few days,” said the NICD in its situation report on the Listeriosis outbreak released on Thursday.
Last Sunday, Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi called an urgent media briefing, where he announced the source of Listeriosis had been traced to ready-to-eat, processed meat products from Enterprise Foods.
While another facility, known as Rainbow Chicken Limited (RCL), tested positive for Listeria, samples from this facility are not same strain that is causing the outbreak. The cause of the outbreak strain ST6 was confirmed in 16 environmental samples collected from an Enterprise facility.
Processed meat products such as polony, viennas, russians, frankfurters, sausages and cold meat products were listed as no-go zones by the minister.
Since 1 January 2017 and up to Thursday, 967 laboratory-confirmed Listeriosis cases have been reported to the NICD from all provinces. Of the 967 cases, 749 cases were reported in 2017 and 218 cases in 2018.
According to the NICD statistics, Gauteng leads with the number of reported cases with 59% of cases from the province.
The Western Cape is second, with 12% of reported cases and KwaZulu-Natal with 7%. Other cases are spread out across other provinces.
Listeriosis has been diagnosed in both the public health sector with 65% of cases reported and 35% in the private health sector.
Minister Motsoaledi called for the public to avoid all processed meats, as there is the possibility of cross-contamination among products.
While government has issued a recall on the Enterprise Foods from the market, healthcare workers have been urged to remain alert for new cases that may surface.
“Healthcare workers are urged to continue with vigilance for new cases, as persons who have consumed implicated processed meat products over the past few weeks may continue to present with Listeriosis,” said the NICD.
The disease is preventable and treatable, and people can look out for symptoms, which include flu-like symptoms, headaches, general body pains, vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach aches.
In a bid to keep track of the outbreak, the NICD has requested that healthcare workers complete case investigation forms, or CIFs, for patients with Listeriosis and submit these to the NICD on firstname.lastname@example.org
“Healthcare workers can also access guidelines on how to manage clinical Listeriosis on the NICD website on www.nicd.ac.za. The NICD continues to operate its 24-hour hotline for healthcare,” said the NICD.