National Department of Health

By Dr Lucia Anelich

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The NICD has provided the latest update on the listeriosis outbreak in South Africa as at 25 January 2018. The outbreak is across all nine provinces. The cases have jumped from 767 on 16 January to 820 (53 more), although 13 are retrospective to 2017. One more death has been reported – total now 82. In summary to date:


The strain that is still most frequently isolated belongs to sequence type ST6. This continues to indicate that these isolates originate from a single source, most likely a food product on the market or a series of food products produced in the same manufacturing environment.
Other statistics in summary (see more in NICD report):
Outcome data is available for 238 (only 3 more since 16 January 2018) of the 820 cases. Of these 238 cases, 82 deaths have been reported which maintains the mortality rate at 34%, as for 16 January 2018. This rate is currently (this will likely change as the disease progresses and more cases are traced) 9-14% higher than general mortality rates reported in other countries i.e. 20-25%.
The source of the outbreak remains unknown. However, a large amount of testing is occurring in industry at all levels to try to find the source.

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Dr Anelich stated in previous communiques that this was the worst documented listeriosis outbreak in global history. It remains so. Her international colleagues in European countries, Canada, Australia and the USA concur.
This communique, further information and interviews conducted can be found on the Anelich Consulting website at and by clicking on links provided.
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