Rwanda bans imports from South Africa over deadly virus outbreak


Rwanda has banned the importation of meat, dairy products, vegetables and fruit from South Africa over an outbreak of listeriosis viral disease.

The ban came into effect on December 19 in order to prevent the possible spread of the disease into Rwanda. Sixty people have died from the disease in South Africa, according to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD).

Rwanda bans SA imports

Rwanda’s ministry of agriculture says the importation of meat, milk and dairy products, vegetables and fruits from South Africa is banned until the country is declared free of listeriosis. Rwanda imports on average 2.4 tonnes of beef from South Africa monthly for the country’s hotels, according to the ministry of agriculture.

Farmers and vets in the country have been advised to quickly report any animals that show signs of being infected so they can be treated promptly.

Rwanda moves to prevent outbreak

Listeriosis is a form of food poisoning contracted by eating food products contaminated with the Listeria monocytogenes (L. monocytogenes) bacterium. Listeriosis is a serious disease but largely preventable and treatable. Pregnant women, infants, elderly people and adult with impaired immune systems are most at risk and the disease can cause pregnant women to miscarry.

Symptoms typically include diarrhoea, fever, general body pains, vomiting and weakness. If the disease goes untreated and reaches the nervous system, symptoms can become more serious and the risk of fatality increase. Almost all people who contract the disease are hospitalised and the mortality rate is around 20%.

Featured image: By Antoshananarivo – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.