Recall effective, Epi Curve dropping – 982 sick with 189 dead

National Institute of Communicable Diseases reports this morning:

The source of the outbreak has been identified as ready-to-eat processed meat products manufactured at Enterprise Foods’ Polokwane production facility.

The recall of implicated food products was announced on 04 March 2018. However, it is expected that new outbreak-related cases will continue to be reported, for the following reasons:

  • the incubation period of listeriosis can be up to 70 days
  • the implicated food products have a long refrigeration shelf life, and it is possible that despite the recall some products were not removed from retail/home settings, and consumption might occur
  • the possibility of cross-contamination of other types of foods in the retail or home setting 
may result in additional cases

A total of 23 laboratory-confirmed cases are reported since the recall on 04 March 2018. Of 
these 23 cases, 17 persons have been interviewed; ten consumed implicated food products and two had direct contact with recalled food products. All exposures occurred prior to the recall.

Outcome data is now available for 70% (687/982) of cases, of which 28% (189/687) died.

As of 26 March 2018, a total of 982 laboratory-confirmed listeriosis cases have been reported to NICD since 01 January 2017. Most cases have been reported from Gauteng Province (59%, 576/982) followed by Western Cape (12%, 121/982) and KwaZulu-Natal (7%, 71/982) provinces. Cases have been diagnosed in both public (65%, 634/982) and private (35%, 348/982) healthcare sectors. Listeria monocytogenes was most commonly isolated/detected on blood culture (72%, 711/982), followed by CSF (21%, 207/982). Where age was reported (n=943), ages range from birth to 93 years (median 22 years) and 41% (404/982) are neonates aged ≤28 days. Of neonatal cases, 96% (389/404) had early-onset disease (birth to ≤6 days). Females account for 56% (531/950) of cases where gender is reported. Final outcome data is available for 70% (687/982) of cases, of which 28% (189/687) died.

NICD Situation update on listeriosis outbreak South Africa_29 March 2018