AfriForum warns SADC and AU over listeriosis death toll

AfriForum today sent a letter to the African Union (AU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in which the organisation raises its concerns over the drastic increase in confirmed listeriosis-related deaths. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), this is the worst listeriosis outbreak in world history.

“The death toll has increased rapidly from 36 in December 2017 to almost 200 in February 2018. The number of confirmed laboratory cases stands at almost 1 000. The State has shown little progress in finding the cause or preventing deaths since Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, Minister of Health, had announced the outbreak in 2017. Government seems unable to manage the crisis efficiently,” says Dr Eugene Brink, Strategic Advisor for Community Services at AfriForum.

Source: World Health Organization (Graphics: AfriForum Research Institute (ANI))

AfriForum is currently compiling a comprehensive report that studies the problem, source, transmission and situation in South Africa and the rest of the world. The report also contains advice to help protect vulnerable people.

“Civil society now takes further steps to determine the cause of listeriosis and how it can be curbed, because the Minister was not yet able to provide any answers. The second-largest listeriosis outbreak occurred in the USA a few years ago, with confirmed cases far less than the current death toll in South Africa,” says Dr Brink in reference to the graph above.

AfriForum will discuss the report and its content with chain stores and make recommendations in the public’s interest.

“We will meet with chain stores to plan measures to curb this problem together. The Minister’s office has not yet provided answers to AfriForum’s questions. As part of our watchdog function, we will continue to pressurise Government and other food role-players,” says Marcus Pawson, Head of Environmental Affairs at AfriForum.

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