The World Health Organization (WHO) has advised against a trade ban on meat products from South Africa as a result of the listeriosis outbreak.

WHO does not currently recommend any trade-related measures other than the recall of products identified as sources of infection.

Nearly 200 people have died from listeriosis since January 2017. Ready-to-eat meat products have been blamed for the biggest outbreak of listeria the world has seen.

These products are exported to two West African countries, and 14 other members of the South African Development Community (SADC).

“Namibia has reported one confirmed case of listeriosis‚ a man who was admitted to hospital in early March. An investigation is ongoing to determine whether the case is connected to the outbreak in South Africa‚” WHO said.

WHO also listed other African countries such as Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe, encouraging these regions to strengthen their national food security and disease surveillance systems.

The organisation has also deployed experts to South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland to support an increase of awareness of listeriosis, enhancing laboratory diagnosis and active surveillance, as well as ensuring the readiness of Rapid Response Teams.

Meanwhile, WHO’s Health Emergencies programme, the Global Alert and Response Network (GOARN) and the International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN) are working with 16 priority countries to improve their ability to detect, prepare for and respond to potential listeriosis outbreaks.

In March, South Africa hosted a meeting of SADC health ministers to address regional response and preparedness to listeriosis. This resulted in the ministers committing to regional collaboration, exchanging information and strengthening of national food safety systems to fall in line with International standards.

Picture: Pixabay

Article written by

Lucinda Dordley

Lucinda is a hard news writer who occasionally dabbles in lifestyle writing, and recent journalism graduate. She is a proud intersectional feminist, and is passionate about actively creating a world which is free of discrimination and inequality.