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Officials urge residents not to panic after Listeria strain found in food outlet

At least 61 people have died since Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi confirmed the country is battling a Listeriosis outbreak.

A view of the listeria bacteria. Picture: National Institute for Communicable Diseases.

JOHANNESBURG - Health officials in Johannesburg have urged residents not to panic after samples of Listeria discovered at a food outlet in the city were taken for testing on Friday.

The city did not divulge the identity of the food outlet.

At least 61 people have died since Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi confirmed the country is battling a Listeriosis outbreak.

Johannesburg's MMC for Health Dr Mpho Phalatse has urged residents and business to continue to take the necessary precaution when handling food.

“We should have results in the next 24 to 48 hours. Residents should please not panic, there are 17 strains of Listeria but not all of them are disease-causing.”

As at 16 January 2018, a total of 764 listeriosis cases have been reported across the country, with the City of Joburg reporting 212 cases and 19 deaths, so far.

The city says that in support of executive mayor Herman Mashaba’s campaign to clamp down on lawlessness, its Environmental Health Unit is also intensifying its oversight role in ensuring that all food handlers strictly adhere to prescribed standards in their field of operation.