Fifty new cases of listeriosis have been reported since affected food products were recalled on March 4, according to the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD). Eight additional cases were reported last week while one case that occurred in October 2017 was retrospectively reported, stated the NICD’s latest report. Twenty-four (48%) of the new cases involved infants younger than 28 days. Three cases (6%) involved children aged between one month and 14 years. By April 17, 2018, a total of 1 019 laboratory-confirmed listeriosis cases have been reported to the NICD since January 1, 2017. A multi-sectorial incident management team (IMT) has been formed by the health department to strengthen the co-ordination of outbreak response and strengthen health systems to prevent future outbreaks. Funding is currently being sourced. An updated listeriosis Emergency Response Plan (ERP) has been developed and approved by the director general of the health department. The aim of the ERP is to intensify response activities to control and end the current listeriosis outbreak and strengthen health systems to prevent future outbreaks. A two-day combined meeting of provincial and national stakeholders, including health promotion and communications staff, communicable disease co-ordinators and environmental health practitioners, along with NICD and World Health Organisation technical experts will be held on April 24 and 25 to communicate details of the ERP. The listeriosis outbreak was first declared by Minister of Health Dr Aaron Motsoaledi on December 5, 2017. The source of the outbreak was linked to an Enterprise Foods facility in Polokwane, which manufactures ready-to-eat processed meat products.

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