Early Childhood Centre illnesses key to tracing source of listeriosis outbreak

Photo_Web_Listeriosis_070318

What is listeriosis? Listeria is an organism that contaminates food and can result in pregnant women going into premature labour or even losing their babies.

What is listeriosis? Listeria is an organism that contaminates food and can result in pregnant women going into premature labour or even losing their babies.

JOHANNESBURG -  Member of the Mayoral Committee for Health and Social Development in the City of Joburg, Dr Mpho Phalatse on Tuesday praised the city’s Environmental Health team for the speed at which they attended to children at an Early Childhood Centre in Soweto.

The children got ill after consuming cold meat products that were later traced to have had Listeriosis. The tests enabled the National Infection Communicable Disease Unit to trace the source of the deadly listeria strain, known as ST6, to an Enterprise cold meat processing plant in Polokwane.

Phalatse said Johannesburg has been hardest hit by Listeriosis with 40 deaths having resulted from 251 infections.

She emphasised that while the source has been traced, the battle continues to stop the spread of the deadly disease.

EXPLAINER: Symptoms associated with listeriosis

‘’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. We will continue to educate the public about Listeriosis. We are not out of the woods yet,” Phalatse said.

Phalatse called on the public to adhere to hygiene standards when handling and preparing food. She said by working together with communities and remaining vigilant we can win this battle.

“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,” said Phalatse.