Lis­te­ria mum’s ap­peal

Young lis­te­rio­sis vic­tim’s mother calls for food to be tested be­fore be­ing placed on shelves


ONE of the pa­tients whose child was di­ag­nosed with lis­te­ria at the child care and ori­en­ta­tion cen­tre in Klip­spruit West, Soweto, has called for stricter con­trol say­ing the au­thor­i­ties needed to test food be­fore it was sold to peo­ple.

Shereen Louw, whose son was among nine chil­dren, all un­der five years old af­fected by the deadly lis­te­ria out­break that has claimed the lives of more than 180 peo­ple across the coun­try said while they were lucky that their chil­dren sur­vived the out­break, other fam­i­lies were not so for­tu­nate.

About 1 000 peo­ple were af­fected by the deadly ST6 strain that sur­faced in Jan­uary.

“They must test food be­fore it can land on the shelves for peo­ple to buy,” she said.

Louw said she re­ceived a call from the cen­tre say­ing her child was sick hours af­ter she dropped him off.

Gaut­eng health MEC Gwen Ramok­gopa who vis­ited the chil­dren yes­ter­day praised the swift ac­tion taken by the day care cen­tre in tak­ing the af­fected chil­dren to the lo­cal clinic.

Ramok­gopa said by do­ing this they had averted pos­si­ble deaths.

“The sig­nif­i­cance of this crèche is that they were able to trace the source of this par­tic­u­lar strain of lis­te­ria that is caus­ing the dis­ease out­break,” Ramok­gopa said. She said if the sick chil­dren had been sent home, it would have taken longer to get a di­ag­no­sis.

“From the polony, we tracked where they bought it and where it was pro­duced and that’s where the de­fin­i­tive source was found,” she said.

Ramok­gopa has reaf­firmed the depart­ment’s com­mit­ment to fight­ing the out­break.

The cen­tre man­ager has thanked the lo­cal clinic for act­ing speed­ily by trans­fer­ring the af­fected chil­dren to Chris Hani Barag­wanath where a di­ag­no­sis was made. Ramok­gopa called on com­mu­ni­ties to work to­gether with the govern­ment and health work­ers to con­tain the dis­ease out­break.

She also thanked health work­ers, the Na­tional In­sti­tute for Com­mu­ni­ca­ble Dis­eases and the Na­tional Health Lab­o­ra­tory Ser­vices.

Af­ter Health Min­is­ter Aaron Mot­soaledi iden­ti­fied the En­ter­prise Foods plants in Polok­wane and Ger­mis­ton, as well a Rain­bow plant in the Free State, as the source of the lis­te­ria con­tam­i­na­tion, their prod­ucts were re­called from re­tail­ers and su­per­mar­kets.

The pub­lic have also been warned against con­sum­ing pro­cessed meats in­clud­ing polony, vi­enna and Rus­sian sausages.

Rights lawyer Richard Spoor, who has spear­headed le­gal ac­tion against gold pro­duc­ers over the fa­tal lung dis­ease sil­i­co­sis, is pre­par­ing to launch a class ac­tion suit against Tiger Brands, En­ter­prise’s hold­ing com­pany.

Amer­i­can lawyer Bill Mar­ler, who won $110m (R1.3bn) in com­pen­sa­tion from fast-food chain Jack in the Box for vic­tims of a 1993 E. coli out­break in the US, which killed four peo­ple is ex­pected to as­sist Spoor.

Foren­sic for Jus­tice, a non-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion, has also waded in an­nounc­ing its in­ten­tion to lay charges of mur­der, cul­pa­ble homi­cide and at­tempted mur­der against Tiger Brands.


NO TO POLONY: Health MEC Gwen Ramok­gopa at the Child­care Ori­en­ta­tion Cen­tre in Klip­spruit where nine kids were in­fected by lis­te­rio­sis.

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