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South Africa is currently in the grips of a catastrophic Listeria outbreak - potentially the biggest outbreak in the world.
Listeria monocytogenes has been associated with some of the deadliest outbreaks in the world, the most recent severe outbreak being in 2011. This Listeria outbreak was traced to contaminated cantaloupes and sickened 146 persons, leading to 142 hospitalizations and 33 deaths. The contaminated cantaloupes were all from one source.
According to the Centre for Enteric Diseases, and Division of Public Health Surveillance and Response, NICD-NHLS, as of 22 November 2017, a total of 557 laboratory-confirmed Listeriosis cases have been reported from all provinces across South Africa, compared to less than 10 cases per year. More than 35 people already died during this time. Over half of these cases were reported in the last 3 months with the rate of incidence escalating exponentially.
The most severely affected are neonates, pregnant woman and immune compromised individuals often with poor prognosis for survival.
According to the NICD report, most cases in this outbreak have been exposed to a widely available, common food type/source and is likely from one facility, but the question remains, which food type and from where?
Finding out the origin proves to be very challenging, as the organism can be found in several environments and food sources.
Knowledge is power, and regular testing provides the data that enable food processors to make informed decisions and take action before a catastrophe strikes. The following are essential to this process:
Solus Scientific produces pathogen testing systems that have been specifically developed with these constraints in mind. Committed to food safety excellence, these assays bring significant productivity benefits to a food safety testing environment.
Each pathogen testing system comprises a specifically designed immunoassay kit, dedicated selective enrichment media and automated liquid handling. The Solus pathogen testing system is robust, reliable and validated by external independent laboratories to AFNOR according to ISO16140 and approved by the AOAC Performance Tested Method program.
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