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What you need to know about listeriosis

There has been an outbreak of a disease called listeriosis, which can cause mild to severe gastro in most people. The danger of this disease is that it can lead to meningitis or septicaemia in people who have compromised immune systems. It can also cause pregnant women to miscarry. Since meat and some of the other products that we sell can be affected by listeriosis, you’ve probably had customers asking about it.

Most people who get listeriosis won’t even know that they have it. If they get any symptoms at all, they may feel like they have a mild case of gastro. However, in patients who have compromised immune systems, the infection can spread to the nervous system and lead to headaches, confusion, dizziness or convulsions. It can even lead to life-threatening diseases like meningitis or septicaemia. Pregnant women may experience flu-like symptoms such as headaches and a fever, as well as aches and pains. As mentioned before, the disease can lead to miscarriages and stillbirths.

Listeriosis is diagnosed with a blood test, and the gastro symptoms will be treated as ordinary gastro would. In cases where meningitis or septicaemia have developed, patients need to be treated with intravenous antibiotics.

You can tell customers that the best way to avoid listeriosis is to keep hygiene in mind at all times when handling food. All meat, including poultry, beef and pork, need to be thoroughly cooked. Customers should always wash their hands before preparing food, and kitchen surfaces and utensils need to be cleaned regularly, especially after food has been prepared. All raw fruit and vegetables should be washed thoroughly before they are eaten.

Customers who are at high risk of contracting listeriosis or who are worried about it should avoid unpasteurised milk and soft cheeses like feta, goat’s cheese and brie, as well as deli meats like ham and salami from providers who do not follow stringent health and safety procedures.

At BMS and Mndeni Meats, all the necessary preventative measures and hygiene habits are in place to avoid listeriosis.