Seven Die From Killer Bacteria -
Deli Meat Suspected


NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Forty people in the US northeast have become sick, and seven have died from infection with the foodborne Listeria bacteria, according to officials at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia.
"Analysis of data collected to date indicate that the leading suspect food in this outbreak is sliced turkey deli meat," according to CDC experts. They say health officials are working hard to track down the exact brand of meat responsible for the outbreak.
So far, seven states have been affected: Pennsylvania (14 cases), New York (11 cases in New York City, 3 elsewhere), New Jersey (4 cases), Delaware (4 cases), Maryland (2 cases), Connecticut (1 case), and Michigan (1 case).
Each year, about 2,500 Americans come down with listeriosis after eating foods--most often meats, raw vegetables and soft cheeses--contaminated with Listeria bacteria. While infection may only result in a transient gastrointestinal illness in healthy individuals, it can prove deadly in the very young, the very old, or those with compromised immune systems, such as people with HIV/AIDS.
Listeria infection also poses a danger to pregnant women. The CDC report indicates that three women linked to the current outbreak have suffered miscarriage or stillbirth after becoming infected.
CDC officials are advising that persons in high-risk groups residing in the affected states "reduce their risk of infection by not eating sliced turkey deli meats or by thoroughly heating them."
The initial signs of listeriosis include flu-like symptoms of fever, aching muscles, nausea and/or diarrhea. If infection spreads to the nervous system more serious symptoms--such as headache, neck stiffness, confusion or convulsion--can occur.
For further information on Listeria, visit the CDC Web site at
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