*South Africa’s health minister said on Thursday the government would support anyone intending court action over the worst listeria outbreak in history that has killed 180 people since January last year.
A human rights lawyer has said he plans to launch a class action lawsuit against South African food producer Tiger Brands on behalf of the families of people who died after health authorities confirmed the presence of listeria at its factory in the northern city of Polokwane.
Infections to increase
The minister also told the nation that they expect an increase in the infections from the worst listeria outbreak in history that has killed 180 people since January last year to increase.
He also warned that there could also be other cases in the southern Africa region. Namibia’s health minister said on Tuesday it had recorded its first case of listeriosis, and the victim was fighting for his life in hospital in the nation’s capital.
The South African government has been criticised for taking too long to find the cause, but after extensive months of investigations, it linked the outbreak to a meat product known as “polony” – a cheap form of protein consumed by South Africans – made by Tiger’s Enterprise Food.
Namibia and several other nations in Africa have suspended imports of processed meat from South Africa after the outbreak was linked to the factory that makes polony, a cheap sausage.
The disease causes flu-like symptoms, nausea, diarrhoea and infection of the blood stream and brain.