Published Date: 2002-09-15 23:50:00
Subject: PRO/EDR> Listeriosis - USA (multistate)
Archive Number: 20020915.5323
LISTERIOSIS - USA (MULTISTATE)
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail, a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Sat 14 Sep 2002
From: ProMED-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Source: Star Ledger, Sat 14 Sep 2002 [edited]
New Jersey has joined a federal investigation into the source of a
food-borne illness that may be linked to the recent deaths of 4 elderly
people in the state, Health and Senior Services Commissioner Clifton R.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta reports a
specific strain of listeria -- a type of bacteria found in uncooked or
tainted foods that causes the disease listeriosis -- has sickened 16 people
in Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland, Michigan, and Connecticut, Lacy said.
[ProMED-mail posted cases in Pennsylvania earlier this month -
20020901.5205 - Mod.LL]
There have been 11 cases of listeriosis reported in New Jersey since June
2002, including the 4 deaths, but it is unclear whether those cases are
linked to the ones in the other states. "Further laboratory analysis is
being conducted to determine if the cases were caused by the same strain of
listeria," Lacy said.
The illness claimed the lives of 2 elderly people in Burlington County, 1
in Gloucester, and another in Mercer since June 2002, according to the
Those at the highest risk of contracting the disease include the elderly,
pregnant women, newborns, and people with weakened immune systems. Symptoms
include fever, muscle aches, and sometimes nausea and diarrhea.
Some 20 to 30 cases are reported in New Jersey every year. In the USA, an
estimated 2500 persons become seriously ill with listeriosis each year. Of
these, 500 die, according to the CDC Web site.
The bacterium 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, according to the CDC Web site.
People can avoid the illness by thoroughly cooking ready-to eat meats, like
hot dogs, and avoiding soft cheeses like Brie and feta and unpasteurized
milk, state epidemiologist Eddy Bresnitz said. The disease is not contagious.
Additional information can be obtained at the CDC's Web site:
[Byline: Susan K. Livio]