October 17, 2019

Listeria Monocytogenes Deli Meats and Cheese Outbreak Ends

The Listeria monocytogenes deli meats and cheeses outbreak is over after sickening 10 people in 5 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). All 10 people were hospitalized. One person who lived in Michigan died. The patient case count by state is: Massachusetts (1), Michigan (2), New Jersey (2), New York (2), and Pennsylvania (3). The illness onset dates ranged from November 13, 2016 to June 20, 2019. Ill persons ranged in age from 40 to 88 years. Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence found that deli-sliced meats and cheese might have been contaminated with Listeria bacteria and made people sick. Of the eight people interviewed, 63% said they ate products sliced at a deli counter, including meats and cheeses. There was limited information about … [Read more...]

Why Are Listeria Illness Onset Dates Spread Out Over Years?

The current Listeria monocytogenes outbreak identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that has no identified source has been going on since 2017. Looking back through our archives, we have found that this is not an isolated incident. Why are Listeria illness onset dates spread out over years? Listeria monocytogenes is a dangerous pathogen. When people in certain categories, including people with compromised immune systems, chronic illnesses, the elderly, and pregnant women, contract this infection, many people get seriously ill. Most, if not all, of those sickened with listeriosis end up in the hospital. And the mortality rate for patients in these groups can be as high as 20-30%. In the Listeria outback linked to unnamed deli meats and cheeses, which has … [Read more...]

Are the Canadian and American Listeria Outbreaks One and the Same?

There are currently two Listeria monocytogenes outbreaks in the U.S. and Canada that were announced last week by the respective governments of those countries. There are a lot of similarities between the two outbreaks. So the question is: are the Canadian and American Listeria outbreaks the same? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the U.S. outbreak last Friday. As of August 23, 2019, 24 people are sick with the outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes. Illness onset dates are from July 20, 2017 to August 1, 2019. And as of August 23, 2019, there are seven cases of listeriosis in Canada. The illness onset dates for that country are between November 2017 and June 2019. Here's the crucial statement. The CDC says, "Whole genome sequencing showed that the … [Read more...]

Listeria Monocytogenes Outbreak Announced; No Food Identified

A Listeria monocytogenes outbreak has been announced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Twenty-four people in 13 states are sick. Twenty-two people have been hospitalized, and two people have died. The patient case count by state is: California (4), Florida (1), Iowa (1), Illinois (4), Indiana (1), Kansas (1), Kentucky (1), Michigan (1), Missouri (3), New York (2), Ohio (2), Oregon (2), and Texas (1). Listeria specimens were collected from patients from July 20, 2017 to August 1, 2019. The patient age range is from 35 to 92 years. This is a strange outbreak announcement, because the notice states that "A specific food item, grocery store, or restaurant chain has not been identified as the source of infections in the United States." This is very unusual. In … [Read more...]

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. 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 … [Read more...]

Why are Pregnant Women So at Risk for Listeria Infections?

Why are pregnant women so at risk for Listeria monocytogenes infections? This population group can suffer miscarriage, stillbirth, and premature labor if this infection is contracted. And the babies can be born with listeriosis, which is life-threatening. One theory is that in pregnancy, the immune system is suppressed so the body doesn't reject the embryo and fetus. This reduction in immunity may be why these women are so susceptible to listeriosis and why the complications can be so severe. Researchers at Berkeley, however, discovered that Listeria monocytogenes bacteria use the immune system suppression to invade the placenta where they are protected from the mother's immune system. Once the bacteria are in the placenta, they can grow rapidly, then emerge to infect the … [Read more...]

FDA Improves Ice Cream Production Safety After Listeria Outbreaks

The FDA announced today that they are taking steps to improve ice cream production after inspecting food facilities and collecting and testing samples from the environment where foods are produced. The notice states, "Following a string of safety issues related to a number of U.S. ice cream distributors, the FDA engaged a team to inspect and obtain environmental samples from 89 ice cream production facilities in 32 states to test for Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella. The government fond that some were in violation of the law." There have been two Listeria monocytogenes outbreaks linked to ice cream in the past few years. Last year, one person was sickened after eating Working Cow Homemade ice cream. And in 2015, the CDC released information about 10 people sickened with … [Read more...]

History of Listeria Monocytogenes Outbreaks Linked to Meat and Cheese

The deadly Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to deli sliced meats and cheeses has sickened 8 people in 8 states. One person who lived in Michigan has died. All eight patients were hospitalized. These outbreaks are tragic. What is the history of Listeria monocytogenes outbreaks linked to meats and cheeses? In the current outbreak, patients purchased deli sliced meats and cheeses in unnamed stores. The CDC outbreak notice did state that investigators found the outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes in samples from meat sliced at "a deli" and from deli counters in multiple retail locations in New York and Rhode Island. Patients sickened in this outbreak live in Michigan, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. This outbreak demonstrates why public health officials tell those … [Read more...]

Protect Yourself Against Listeria Outbreak Linked to Deli Meat Cheese

A deadly Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to unnamed deli meats and cheeses has sickened at least eight people in four states. All eight people were hospitalized. And, sadly, one person in Michigan died. Can you protect yourself and your family against this illness? This pathogen does not cause many outbreaks in the U.S., since it sickens about 2,600 people every year. Compared to Salmonella, which sickens 1,200,000 people every year in this country, it may seem like this pathogen isn't as dangerous. But that perception is wrong. Listeria monocytogenes causes serious illness and death in this country every year.  In fact, Listeria infections are the third leading cause of death from food poisoning in the U.S. One of the issues with this pathogen is that the population … [Read more...]

Why Are Deli Sliced Products Vulnerable to Listeria Monocytogenes?

The deadly Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to deli sliced meats and cheeses that was announced yesterday by the CDC has sickened eight people and one Michigan resident has died. For years, Food Poisoning Bulletin has told you about dozens of recalls of deli items for possible Listeria contamination. Why are these deli sliced products vulnerable to Listeria? Listeria monocytogenes is a very persistent and strong pathogen. It is found in the air, water, soil, animals, and plant material. Once it has been introduced into a facility, especially a moist and cool environment, it can become established and be very difficult to get rid of. The pathogen can hide in floor cracks, grease traps, air vents, in machines and surfaces that are difficult to clean, on food preparation … [Read more...]

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