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NICD refutes claims primary source of listeriosis outbreak still unknown

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) has refuted statements that the primary source of the deadly listeriosis outbreak which has resulted in more than 180 deaths so far is still unknown.

It also refuted claims that Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi had backed down on his previous announcements that the source had been identified.

In a statement on Tuesday‚ the NICD said it was “concerned about recent developments and statements supposedly released as facts into the public domain about the listeriosis outbreak.

“We are particularly worried about the confusion that emanated from statements made at the meeting called by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Agriculture on March 28 2018‚” it said.

“Of major concern are the claims that the primary source of the outbreak is still unknown‚ and that the Minister of Health has backed down on his previous announcement that the source had been identified‚ both of which we refute. The statements the Minister of Health has made have emanated from epidemiologic and scientific investigations conducted by the NICD. The implication that the NICD has misled the Minister of Health and the public is rejected.

“Furthermore‚ we condemn the statement made that the government prematurely scapegoated ‘Enterprise and Rainbow’ without sufficient evidence. We contend that this evidence has been amply provided by the NICD‚”’ the institute added.

It said it did not regard these claims as a small matter‚ because the NICD was not just a routine diagnostic laboratory with an impact localised to South Africa.

“The NICD’s work goes far beyond the borders of our country and has an international impact. In outbreaks of this nature‚ the NICD is obligated by the International Health Regulations to report findings through the
National Department of Health to the World Health Organisation‚ and cannot afford to‚ and does not mislead.”

To serve its purpose‚ the NICD had specialised laboratories and public health and epidemiologic expertise‚ leading it to serve as a reference centre‚ not only for the public and private sectors in South Africa‚ but across Africa. It shared information and works together with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and eminent international institutions which included the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes
of Health (NIH) of the USA‚ the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) and Public Health England.

“Therefore‚ the work of the NICD is scientifically sound and evidence-based.”

– TimesLIVE