Well, there has been a lot of noise around lately about Listeria. So how bad can it be?
Listeria is the name of the genus of bacteria which have similar characteristics. It is the bacteria, Listeria monocytogenes which is of particular concern from this group.
It is this bacteria which has been the cause of the six deaths in Australia in the current outbreak.
It is the elderly and the other high risk groups who are most susceptible to Listeriosis
One of the characteristics of Listeriosis is that it may take up to 90 days for the symptoms to show, so we expect that the number of cases in Australia may still increase.
The outbreak has been sourced to rockmelons from a specific farm in New South Wales.
Although these melons were recalled from the market and are no longer available for purchase or consumption, the outbreak has already significantly impacted on the rockmelon industry with massive loss of sales due to consumer lack of trust for the fruit.
It will obviously take some time for the market to grow back to it’s level of sales. This means that the farmers and others in the industry will be suffering major losses.
In South Africa, there is also a Listerosis outbreak happening. As of early April there were around confirmed 1000 cases.The mortality rate at the moment is sitting at 28 percent. This outbreak has been sourced to a ready to eat processed meat product called French Polony (a product which is similar to baloney).
The effects from a food poisoning outbreak are wide and long term, starting with the victims and their families out to the farmers and their families.
So how bad can Liateria be?
Food poisoning from Listeria , or any of the pathogens, is not just about a few days off work, it is also often life changing, and not just for those who become sick, but for their families, the business involved, the industry and the public.