Port Elizabeth – The Nelson Mandela Bay municipality has assured residents that everything possible was being done to address the outbreak of listeriosis in the metro, but the outbreak source has still not been identified.
“We wish to assure all local residents and communities that the municipality is actively managing the Listeriosis outbreak in the city, in cooperation with all members of the Listeriosis Outbreak Response Team, which includes the provincial Departments of Health and Agriculture, as well as the municipality’s Environmental Health and Emergency Services divisions,” said spokesperson, Mthubanzi Mniki.
Mniki said while the environmental health team was investigating all possible sources of the outbreak within the city, the contaminated source had not yet been identified.
“The investigations undertaken are extensive and include the tracing of all listeriosis patients, testing their surroundings, and inspecting and testing bulk milk suppliers, food processing facilities and food distribution centres,” he said.
“All samples taken, are tested by an accredited laboratory at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) in Johannesburg. The inspections and tests will continue until the source is found and isolated,” he said.
Largest outbreak ever
Mniki said the municipality had extensively tested the municipal drinking water, both at the water treatment works and water supply points.
“The tests are being done by an independent and accredited laboratory, and all test results have confirmed that Listeria bacteria are not present in the Municipality’s drinking water sources,” he said.
The World Health Organisation recently said the listeria outbreak in South Africa, with about 750 confirmed cases, is believed to be the largest ever outbreak of the bacterial disease listeriosis.
As of January 17, it had been confirmed that nine people in city had contracted the disease.
Listeria bacteria are found in the general environment, including in soil, water and vegetation, including vegetables.
In humans, symptoms are usually mild and may include fever, malaise and sometimes nausea and diarrhoea. It can also cause meningitis.
In particular, babies, pregnant women, elderly folks and people with compromised immune systems are at risk.
“Community members are urged not to rely on unverified social media posts for information on the incidence of Listeriosis in the city,” said Mniki.