Further to current note 52/0403, the South African Government on 4 March 2018 identified the source of a large outbreak of listeriosis. As at 2 March 2018, laboratory-confirmed cases, from January 2017, had risen to 948. Of these, 659 had been traced including 180 deaths, representing a case fatality rate of 27%.
After prolonged investigations by the South African National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), polony sausage made by a processed meat factory operated by Enterprise Foods in Polokwane in Limpopo province was identified as the source of the infection. At least 16 environmental samples from this factory were positive for a virulent strain of Listeria monocytogenes.
Investigations are continuing as it remains possible that other facilities are involved and there is the possibility of cross contamination in food shops.
The South African Health Minister has advised people to avoid all ready-to-eat processed meats.
Further information and advice for clinicians advising travellers can be accessed on TRAVAX and for the general public on fitfortravel.
Source: NICD Media Statement, 4 March 2018