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Polony still causing listeriosis

Of the 78 people who got listeriosis after the shock March 4 announcement that the source of the outbreak was Tiger Brands’ Enterprise plant in Polokwane‚ two out of three of those interviewed have revealed that they ate polony.

And brands manufactured by Enterprise Foods were most commonly reported to have been consumed‚ “where brand of polony was known”‚ according to the latest report by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD)‚ released this week.

It puts the number of confirmed cases of listeriosis at 1‚053‚ with 212 deaths – fewer than five cases a week have been reported for the last four weeks‚ consistent with the dramatic drop in confirmed cases since the outbreak source was announced.

Whole genome sequencing – a form of DNA fingerprinting – has been conducted on samples from more than half of those 78 post-recall cases‚ revealing that 72% were the outbreak strain‚ ST6‚ the others being other forms of Listeria monocytogenes.

More listeriosis cases are expected‚ despite it being almost four months since the recall of implicated processed meats‚ mainly because the products have a long shelf life and‚ as the NICD put it‚ “it is possible that despite the recall some products have not been removed from retail or consumers’ homes”.

Also‚ the Listeria-contaminated products could have contaminated other products in stores and homes.

The NICD report also reveals that health authorities are inspecting and taking swabs from the 190 facilities manufacturing processed meat operating across the country.

At the time of the recall in early March‚ Enterprise Foods had a 35.7% market share in South Africa’s processed meats industry‚ making it the largest producer of processed meats.

Source: Times Live