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.