Listeriosis Outbreak: WHO Warns Nigeria, 15 Other African Countries

World Health Organisation on Wednesday warned Nigeria and 15 other African countries of a listeriosis outbreak that started in South Africa in 2017, confirming its support for their preparedness and response to the disease. The other African countries are Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Listeriosis is a bacterial infection most commonly caused by Listeria monocytogenes. It can cause severe illness, including severe sepsis, meningitis, or encephalitis, sometimes resulting in lifelong harm and even death. Listeria is ubiquitous and is primarily transmitted via the oral route after ingestion of contaminated food products

According to WHO numbers, nearly 200 South Africans have died since January 2017 as a result of contaminated ready-to-eat meat products that are widely consumed in the country and may also have been exported to two West African countries and 14 members of the South African Development Community. South African health authorities recently declared the source of the outbreak as a factory in Polokwane, in the country’s northeast prompting a global recall of the food products.

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