- 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,
- "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 http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dbmd/diseaseinfo/listeriosis_g.htm.
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