The discovery that the listeriosis outbreak has been traced back to two manufacturers of processed meat products has sparked panic among members of the public.
Here are 10 important things to know about the outbreak:
- The current Listeriosis outbreak is the largest ever in South Africa, according to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD).
- The outbreak started in June 2017.
- To date 180 people have died and over 900 people have received medical care after being infected.
- The current mortality rate is around 27 percent.
- Symptoms can take up to 70 days to manifest and can include fever, muscle aches and a runny tummy
- People with impaired immune systems, the elderly, pregnant women and infants are most prone to infection.
- The health department has identified ready-to-eat products like cold meats, viennas and russians as the source of the outbreak.
- Two major manufacturers, Enterprise and Rainbow Chicken, issued recall notices for their products, leading to retailers like Pick n Pay, Shoprite, Checkers and Woolworths recalling a selection of their products as well as housebrand processed meat products.
- Listeria monocytogenes continues to multiply in refrigerated raw foods.
- Cooking kills the listeria monocytogenes bacterium.
On Sunday the health department announced that the source of the Listeriosis had been traced to Enterprise Foods, a company owned by Tiger Brands. Another source of the outbreak has been traced to Rainbow Chicken food products.
Cold meats have been singled out as the source of the outbreak, which included products such as; viennas, russians and polony.
The health department sent letters to the implicated companies calling on them to immediately recall their food products.
Retailers such as a Woolworths, Checkers, Shoprite and Pick n Pay have announced that consumers could return their cold meat products to their stores to received refunds.