Research – Lab work in South Africa’s Listeria outbreak was ‘remarkable’

Food Safety News

Researchers have described how a laboratory handled increased demand during the 2017-2018 listeriosis outbreak in South Africa.

Whole genome sequencing (WGS) and epidemiological data were used to determine the source of the outbreak as ready-to-eat processed meat manufactured by Enterprise Foods.

A total of 1,060 cases were reported from January 2017 to July 2018 and 216 people died.

The largest ever reported outbreak of listeriosis included an alert in mid-June 2017, a peak in mid-November 2017, and identification of the outbreak source in mid-February 2018.

“This eight-month timeline was rather remarkable, considering the large number of cases involved and the limited capacity and resources available for foodborne disease outbreak investigations in South Africa,” according to researchers.

The study is published in the Foodborne Pathogens and Disease journal

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