Exact origin of listeria strain remains a mystery – Motsoaledi

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says the end of the listeriosis outbreak does not mean the disease has disappeared.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi and members from various sectors brief the media on listeriosis and counterfeit food. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says while the source of the recent listeria outbreak was identified, the exact origin of the ST6 strain still remains a mystery.

At a briefing on Monday, Motsoaledi announced that there is no longer a listeriosis outbreak in the country.

He's also declared processed meats once again safe to eat.

The health minister says his team of experts and other practitioners who have been fighting the listeria outbreak have not been able to find how the ST6 strain ended up at the Tiger Brand's Enterprise Foods factory.

“The number of activities described in the emergency response plan are still ongoing. This will further strengthen the system to prevent and detect listeriosis outbreaks.”

He says the end of the listeriosis outbreak does not mean the disease has disappeared.

“The NICD has shown us that there’s been between 60 and 80 cases of listeria every year in the country, even for the past five years before the outbreak.”

Motsoaledi says South Africans should continue exercising precautionary measures such as the washing of hands and thorough cooking of food.

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(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)