Alert on South Africa’s Listeriosis Outbreak “Largest Ever”
The World Health Organization has said that South Africa’s Listeria outbreak with nearly 750 confirmed cases is believed to be the largest ever outbreak of bacterial disease listeriosis. The outbreak was declared on 5th December, 2017. Sixty one (61) traced patients were reported to have died from the outbreak of the disease.
Listeriosis is a serious disease caused by the bacterium, Listerium monocytogenes. Listerium monocytogenes is found in soil, water and some animal feaces. Animal products including meat and dairy, seafood and fresh produce such as fruits and vegetable can be contaminated.
The bacterium has three weeks incubation period and this makes it difficult to establish the source of contamination.
WHO has called on South Africans to practice WHO’s “Five Keys to Safer Food ” program that include:
• Washing hands before and after, during food preparation.
• Separating raw meat, poultry and seafood from other food.
• Cooking food thoroughly, especially meat, poultry, egg and seafood’s.
South Africa has implemented some important measures such as making listeriosis a notifiable disease.
NAFDAC has strengthened surveillance on food products imported from South Africa to ensure that products contaminated with Listerium monocytogenes are not imported and distributed in Nigeria.
All importers of food for human and animal consumption are strictly warned to desist from importing contaminated food into Nigeria.
Health care professionals are implored to be more vigilant and are requested to report suspected cases of contaminated food to the nearest NAFDAC office.
NAFDAC…………..Safeguarding the Health of the Nation!!!