Published Date: 2002-09-01 23:50:00
Subject: PRO/EDR> Listeriosis - USA (Pennsylvania)
Archive Number: 20020901.5205
LISTERIOSIS - USA (PENNSYLVANIA)
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail, a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Fri, 30 Aug 2002 21:13:43 -0400
From: Jerry Zuckerman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Source: Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Health Department Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
HEALTH DEPARTMENT ANNOUNCES INVESTIGATION OF LISTERIA INFECTIONS
State Health Secretary Robert S. Zimmerman Jr. today announced that his
department and the Philadelphia Department of Health are conducting an
investigation into cases of _Listeria monocytogenes_ that have occurred in
July and August 2002 in the western and southeastern parts of the
Commonwealth. The infection occurs when people eat contaminated food
To date, a total of 20 cases have been reported throughout Pennsylvania (7
in Philadelphia residents); 2 of the 20 people have died.
"While Listeria can be dangerous for some, most people who are exposed will
experience minor, if any, symptoms," Secretary Zimmerman said. "Taking
simple, common-sense approaches to food handling and preparation can prevent
the spread of the bacteria. These include washing and cooking food
thoroughly; keeping uncooked food separate from cooked foods; and washing
hands, knives, and other food preparation items."
An epidemiological and laboratory investigation into these cases is ongoing.
At this time, no specific food product has been identified as a cause for
the infections. Laboratory specimens from cases are being collected and
forwarded to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for further
Listeria is an infrequent cause of illness and death in the very young and
the very old. It is most frequently contracted through eating contaminated
food products. Pregnant women in particular can become infected and spread
the infection to their newborns, who then experience severe symptoms such as
Listeria bacteria are found in soil and water. Vegetables can become
contaminated from the soil or from manure used as fertilizer. Listeria has
been found in a variety of raw foods, such as uncooked meats and vegetables,
as well as in processed foods that become contaminated after processing,
such as soft cheeses and cold cuts at the deli counter. Unpasteurized (raw)
milk or foods made from unpasteurized milk also may contain the bacterium.
Nationally, an estimated 2500 people become seriously ill with Listeria each
year. In Pennsylvania, fewer than 2 dozen cases are reported in most years.
However, Listeria infection only became a reportable disease statewide this
year . Now that reporting is mandatory, those numbers may increase in
Investigation of Listeria infection can be difficult because symptoms can
surface anywhere from a few days to more than 2 months after a person eats
contaminated food. Fortunately, most people who eat foods containing
Listeria bacteria do not become ill.
People who develop Listeria infection may experience a range of symptoms
including fever, muscle aches and gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea
or diarrhea. If infection spreads to the nervous system, symptoms such as
headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance or convulsions can occur.
Pregnant women are at increased risk for Listeria infection compared to
other healthy adults. About one-third of Listeria cases happen during
pregnancy. Infected pregnant women may experience only a mild, flu-like
illness; however, infection during pregnancy can lead to premature delivery,
infection of the newborn, or even stillbirth. There is no routine screening
test for susceptibility to [infection with?] Listeria during pregnancy.
Jerry Zuckerman, MD
Albert Einstein Medical Center
Date: Sat, 31 Aug 2002 12:30:31 +0100
From: "Pablo Nart" <email@example.com>
Source: KYW news radio 1060, 31st August 2002 [edited]
Philadelphia health officials are warning about an outbreak in Pennsylvania
of a food-borne illness that has already claimed two lives.
Officials say in the past 2 months 22 cases of the bacterium Listeria have
occurred throughout the state, including 7 in Philadelphia; 2 of the 22
died, though neither fatality was in the city. The ages of those struck by
Listeria range from newborn to 98 years. None of the cases appears related.