Namibia's first listeriosis case confirmed

14 March 2018 | Health

A 41-year-old Namibian man has been diagnosed with listeriosis after eating a vienna he bought at a butchery in Tsumeb this week and is in a critical but stable condition.

This was announced by health minister Bernard Haufiku in parliament yesterday.

The bacterial infection, so far mainly spread by processed meat, broke out in South Africa in January and has killed 180 people there. In Australia, at least four people have died in an outbreak of listeriosis linked to contaminated melons. Haufiku told the National Assembly that the ministry was prepared for an outbreak, as surveillance measures were activated in January already, and these would be sharpened now.

He especially warned the people of Tsumeb, where the 28th Independence celebrations will be held, not to eat processed cold meats such as viennas and russians.

“Our inspectors will be going from shop to shop to remove all meat products identified as sources of the disease in Tsumeb and all other towns in the country.”

Haufiku warned that although imports of certain implicated brands from South Africa had been stopped, a blanket ban on similar products could not be instituted.

Cold meats produced by Enterprise Foods and Rainbow Chicken in South Africa were identified as a source of the disease.

The deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Loide Kasingo, reminded the minister that the majority of people buy russians and viennas from street vendors, especially in the rural areas.

Speaker Peter Katjavivi also urged the minister to ensure that his staff reach all remote areas in the country so that there is no “hiding place for this disease”.

JEMIMA BEUKES

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