We are lucky our children lived‚ says mother of toddler treated for listeriosis

14 March 2018 - 06:00 By Naledi Shange
Image: 123rf/ olegdudko

The mother of a three-year-old boy who was treated for listeriosis along with eight other children from a Klipspruit West day care centre near Soweto says her son was fortunate to have survived the disease which claimed over 180 lives.

“The experience was not nice but we made it through‚” Shireen Louw told journalists on Tuesday‚ as her toddler son clung to her dress.

She said Enterprise and Rainbow Chicken‚ which the department of health had fingered as being behind the outbreak‚ should take responsibility.

“They were supposed to know and check their foods and know it was safe or not because we could have lost our children‚” Louw said.

“They must be sure next time that their food is right because you can't let people get sick. We were lucky. Some families died. We still had a second chance to see our children but others never saw their families come back again. So from my part‚ they must be more careful and test their foods before they put it on the shelves for people to buy‚” she said.

Louw said her son had been perfectly fine when he left for the Child Care and Orientation Centre earlier that morning.

She was shocked to suddenly get a call to rush to the local clinic.

“When we got to the clinic they told us some of the children had fever and some had diarrhea‚ some were vomiting. When I found my child he was hot with fever and they had taken off his clothes‚” she said.

They were all transferred to the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital.

“When we arrived by the ward‚ I saw they were already waiting for us. They took the children‚ some they put on drips and checked them. They told us they will admit the children‚” she said.

The children spent five days in hospital.

“The people of the health department came and asked what food we had fed the children and we had to think what food we could have given the children. They told us about this listeriosis and for us as parents‚ it was a new thing because we had never heard of this disease. They explained to us what the disease is‚” said Louw.

Although the deadly polony was traced back to the school‚ Louw said they had completely cut out processed meats from their diet at home.

“We have changed our diet. We no longer eat polony or Russians because we have learned of this disease‚” said Louw.

The owner of the day care facility‚ Momi Oliphant‚ told TimesLIVE that she had also removed polony and viennas from the crèche menu‚ adding that she never wanted to see polony again.

“Polony‚ I don’t want to even know the colour of that thing. We have resorted to noodles or veggies or something nutritional but polony‚ no. Even if they can say it’s the Muslim one‚ because apparently those ones are right‚ but we just don’t eat polony‚” Oliphant said on Tuesday.