[Date Prev][Date Next][Date Index]

E-M:/ Listeria outbreak, suspected contaminated deli sliced turkey

Enviro-Mich message from "Alex J. Sagady & Associates" <ajs@sagady.com>

 From the Centers for Disease Control....

nationwide outbreak of listeria,  one death in Michigan and 6 elsewhere,
sliced deli turkey is suspected source.

Press Release
Update: Listeriosis Outbreak Investigation

Update October 4, 2002
Contact: CDC, Media Relations
(404) 639?3286

CDC and several state health departments are investigating an outbreak of 
listeriosis, primarily affecting persons in the northeastern U.S. Thus far, 
40 ill persons with the outbreak strain of Listeria have been detected; all 
were hospitalized, 7 died, and 3 pregnant women had miscarriages or 
stillbirths. These patients live in 7 states: Pennsylvania (14 cases), New 
York (11 cases in New York City, 3 in other locations), New Jersey (4 
cases), Delaware (4 cases), Maryland (2 cases), Connecticut (1 case), and 
Michigan (1 case).

Analysis of data collected to date indicate that the leading suspect food 
in this outbreak is sliced turkey deli meat. Federal, state, and local 
health and officials are continuing to investigate to determine the 
brand(s) and origin of the product involved.

Listeriosis is a very serious foodborne disease that can be 
life-threatening to certain individuals, including the elderly or those 
with weakened immune systems. It can also cause miscarriages and 
stillbirths in pregnant women, so we need to continue to remind persons at 
high risk to thoroughly heat deli meats before eating them. Persons in 
these risk groups who reside in the affected states may reduce their risk 
of infection by not eating sliced turkey deli meats or by thoroughly 
heating them. This is consistent with standard recommendations for persons 
at high risk:

     * Avoid foods from deli counters or thoroughly heat deli meat products 
before eating.

     * Heat hot dogs until steaming before eating.

     * Avoid cross-contaminating other foods, utensils, and food 
preparation surfaces with fluid from hot dog packages, and wash hands after 
handling hot dogs.

     * Avoid soft cheeses such as feta, Brie, Camembert, blue-veined, and 
Mexican-style cheese. (Hard cheeses, processed cheeses, cream cheese, 
cottage cheese, and yogurt need not be avoided).

The following additional food safety measures, which should be routine for 
all persons, can also reduce the risk of listeriosis:

     * Thoroughly cook raw food from animal sources, such as beef, pork, or 
     * Wash raw vegetables thoroughly before eating.
     * Keep uncooked meats separate from vegetables and from cooked foods.
     * Avoid raw (unpasteurized) milk or foods made from raw milk.
     * Wash hands, knives, and cutting boards after handling uncooked foods.

In addition to the 40 patients whose illnesses have been confirmed as part 
of the outbreak, CDC and State Health Departments have learned about other 
cases of Listeria infection in the same region. DNA subtyping has shown 
that strains from over 30 patients in these same states are different from 
the outbreak strain; these illnesses are part of the "background" of 
sporadic Listeria infections and are likely due to a variety of different 

About 2500 cases of listeriosis occur each year in the United States. The 
initial symptoms are often fever, muscle aches, and sometimes 
gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea or diarrhea. The illness may be 
mild and ill persons sometimes describe their illness as flu-like. If 
infection spreads to the nervous system, symptoms such as headache, stiff 
neck, confusion, loss of balance, or convulsions can occur. Most cases of 
listeriosis and most deaths occur in adults with weakened immune systems, 
the elderly, pregnant women, and newborns. However, infections can occur 
occasionally in otherwise healthy persons. Infections during pregnancy can 
lead to miscarriages, stillbirths, and infection of newborn infants.

Previous outbreaks of listeriosis have been linked to a variety of foods 
especially processed meats (such as hot dogs, deli meats, and pate) (accent 
ague over e) and dairy products (such as soft cheeses and milk). 
Pasteurization eliminates Listeria bacteria; dairy products cause illness 
only when pasteurization is not done, is inadequate, or when food is 
contaminated after pasteurization.

If you have questions about Listeria, you can call your local or state 
health department, your physician, or visit the CDC web site at 

# # #

CDC protects people's health and safety by preventing and controlling 
diseases and injuries; enhances health decisions by providing credible 
information on critical health issues; and promotes healthy living through 
strong partnerships with local, national, and international organizations.

Alex J. Sagady & Associates  http://my.voyager.net/ajs/sagady.pdf

Environmental Enforcement, Technical Review, Public Policy and
Communications on Air, Water and Waste/Community Environmental Protection

PO Box 39,  East Lansing, MI  48826-0039
(517) 332-6971; (517) 332-8987 (fax); ajs@sagady.com

ENVIRO-MICH:  Internet List and Forum for Michigan Environmental
and Conservation Issues and Michigan-based Citizen Action.   Archives at

Postings to:  enviro-mich@great-lakes.net      For info, send email to
majordomo@great-lakes.net  with a one-line message body of  "info enviro-mich"