Jean-Jacques Cornish

South Africa will fight listeria even after sounding the all clear

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Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says South Africa will continue with its emergency response plan in the fight against listeriosis.

Since no new cases have been reported for three months, he’s announced the end of the world’s worst listeria outbreak that killed 216 people

South African health authorities have identified a meat processing facility in the northern city of Polokwane as the source of the listeria outbreak last year.

However the cause of the bacteria, that killed 216 and sickened more than a thousand people  is still unknown

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says efforts to find the cause and to stop the outbreak of any other disease will continue even after the all-clear has been sounded.

Motsoaledi says authorities  will strengthen the system to prevent  and detect listeriosis outbreaks, including ongoing legislative reform regarding food safety.

He says about 900 health practitioners have been taken for training to be educated on the listeriosis bacteria , which found in unpasteurized milk and ready-to-eat or refrigerated foods and  attacks the central nervous system.

The Polokokwane operation identified as the source of the outbreak remains closed.

Government expects a full report from the owners by next month.

Motsoaledi department faces opposition criticism for not responding quickly enough to the listeria outbreak .

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Jean-Jacques Cornish is a journalist and broadcaster who has been involved in the media all his adult life.

Starting as a reporter on his hometown newspaper, he moved briefly to then Rhodesia before returning to South Africa to become a parliamentary correspondent with the South African Press Association. He was sent to London as Sapa’s London editor and also served as special correspondent to the United Nations. He joined the then Argus group in London as political correspondent.

Returning to South Africa after 12 years abroad, he was assistant editor on the Pretoria News for a decade before becoming editor of the Star and SA Times for five years.

Since 1999 he’s been an independent journalist writing and broadcasting – mainly about Africa – for Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape
Talk, Radio France International, PressTV, Radio Live New Zealand, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, the BBC, Agence France Press,
Business in Africa, Leadership, India Today, the South African Institute for International Affairs and the Institute for Security Studies.

He has hosted current affairs talk shows on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk. He appears as an African affairs pundit on SABC Africa and CNBC Africa.
He lectured in contemporary studies to journalism students at the Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Pretoria.

He speaks on African affairs to corporate and other audiences.
He has been officially invited as a journalist to more than 30 countries. He was the winner of the 2007 SADC award for radio journalism.

He’s been a member of the EISA team observing elections in Somaliland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Tunsiai.

In October 2009 he headed a group of 39 African journalists to the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Peoples’ Republic of China.

In January 2010 he joined a rescue and paramedical team to earthquake struck Haiti.

He is immediate past president of the Alliance Francaise of Pretoria.

Jean-Jacques is a director of Giant Media. The company was given access to Nelson Mandela in his retirement years until 2009.
He is co-producer of the hour-long documentary Mandela at 90 that was broadcast on BBC in January 2009.