September 21, 2019

Listeria Outbreak in Canada Linked to Rosemount Cooked Chicken

A Listeria monocytogenes outbreak in Canada is linked to Rosemount brand cooked chicken, according to a notice from the Public Health Agency of Canada. Seven confirmed cases have been diagnosed as of August 18 2019.

Listeria Outbreak in Canada Linked to Rosemount Cooked Chicken

The patient case count by province is: British Columbia (1), Manitoba (1), and Ontario (5). People got sick between November 2017 and June 2019. Six of the seven patients have been hospitalized because they are so sick. The patient age range is from 51 to 97 years.

An increase in Listeria illnesses was reported to the government in June 2019. Officials used whole genome sequencing (WGS) to identify two illnesses which occurred in November 2017 that had the same genetic strain as illnesses that occurred in April and June 2019.

Rosemount cooked chicken has been identified as a likely source of this outbreak. Rosemount cooked diced chicken was shipped to hospitals, including nursing home and cafeterias, where many of the patients lived or visited before they got sick.

A food recall has been issued for Rosemount brand cooked diced chicken meat 13mm – ½” (#16305), packdate – 01/21/2019.. This product was distributed in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia and may have been distributed to other provinces and territories. This product is packaged for hotels, restaurants, and institutions and is not sold at the retail level.  This investigation is ongoing, and more products linked to this outbreak may be identified and recalled.

This outbreak may continue to grow, since there is a delay between when a person gets sick, visits their doctor, is tested, and the illness is reported to public health officials. For Listeria monocytogenes illness, this lag is usually 4 to 6 weeks.

Symptoms of listeriosis, the illness caused by this pathogen, can take up to 70 days to appear. These symptoms include fever, nausea, stomach and abdominal cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, headache, muscle aches, and stiff neck. Pregnant women may only have a mild illness that seems to be the flu, but listeriosis can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, premature labor, and infection in the newborn. If you have been ill with these symptoms, see your doctor.

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