Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says the source of the current outbreak of Listeriosis in South Africa is Enterprise polony and cold meats. He also announced the contamination has been traced back to an Enterprise manufacturing plant in Polokwane, Limpopo.

Motsoaledi has briefed the media in Johannesburg on government’s response to the what has been described as the worst documented Listeriosis outbreak in global history.

“A team from the NICD has interviewed 109 ill patients about the food they have eaten in the last month before falling ill. 85% of these people reported eating ready to eat processed meat products of which polony was the most common, followed by Viennas, sausages as well as other cold meats. The source of the present outbreak is the enterprise food production facility located in Polokwane,” Motsoaledi explained.

Minister Motsoaledi also announced that the death toll from the disease has risen.

“As of the March 2, 2018 a total of laboratory confirmed cases have risen to 948 cases. Still as we were counting from January 2017 of this 948 cases, we have been able to trace 659 patients and unfortunately 180 of them have demised.”

Listeriosis is a disease caused by the bacterium, Listeria monocytogenes which is widely distributed in nature and can be found in soil, water and contaminated food.

Infection in humans occurs through the consumption of contaminated foods such as unpasteurized milk, soft cheeses, vegetables and prepared meat products.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) the Listeriosis disease is a worldwide occurrence with sporadic incidence.