Listeria outbreak 2016: listeria outbreak, listeriosis, food poisoning, and foodborne diseases

Listeria is a bacterium that can thrive in both anaerobic (without oxygen) and aerobic (with oxygen) conditions, and is widely known for causing an infection in humans called listeriosis, a foodborne disease similar to food poisoning. There are six different species of listeria, and the one causing the disease is L. monocytogenes. Main listeriosis symptoms are typical for common foodborne diseases and include fever, muscle aches, and nausea or diarrhea. Listeria infection accounts for around 300 deaths annually, according to a 2011 CDC report. Listeria bacteria are usually found in raw animal products, like meat and cheese, as well as any raw food in general. For example, soil and water may carry the bacteria onto the vegetables, thus contaminating the fresh produce.

New listeria outbreak from packaged salad follows earlier soft cheese listeriosis wave

New-listeria-outbreak-from-packaged-saladNew listeria outbreak has emerged form packaged salad following the earlier soft cheese listeriosis wave. The outbreak was announced on January 27, 2016, when packaged salads were recalled from a packaging facility in Springfield, Ohio. Illnesses from the salad have been reported in New York, Missouri, and Connecticut. Furthermore, there are cases of listeria in Canada, and after performing the necessary tests, researchers determined it was the same strain from the U.S. outbreak.


Listeria is a serious, life-threatening illness, and so far one person has died, while the others who have become infected have all been hospitalized. The outbreak first began back in July 2015, affecting 15 people, including a pregnant woman. In January, this number increased again, and researchers have found that specimen in all the listeria tests are related genetically.

The source of the outbreak comes from Dole-packaged salads coming from a processing center in Springfield, Ohio. This same salad may be sold under various other names as well, which could be furthering the outbreak. Continue reading…

Listeria food poisoning symptoms, listeriosis risk high in pregnant women, elderly and newborns

listeriosis risk high in pregnant womenListeria food poisoning – known as listeriosis – is a high risk for pregnant women, the elderly and newborns. Listeria is a bacterium that can grow either with oxygen or without. Only one form of listeria can cause infection in humans, known as L. monocytogenes. Listeria bacteria can grow at temperatures of 86 to 98.6 degrees F (30 to 37 degrees C), but can also grow at refrigerator temperatures. This is what distinguishes it from other food poisoning-causing bacteria.

Listeria can be found in water, soil, infected animals, human animal feces, raw and treated sewage, leafy vegetables, effluent from meat and poultry processing, decaying corn and soybean, and raw unpasteurized milk. Food-borne transmission of listeria is estimated at 85 to 95 percent of cases. It is unknown what the dosage of listeria should be in order to cause infection; therefore, even a small amount may be enough to bring on symptoms.

Listeria can affect anyone, but those with weakened immune systems, such as pregnant women, newborns and the elderly, are at a higher risk of developing a listeria infection. Continue reading…

Reduce food poisoning risk by using disinfectant wipes in the kitchen

food-poisoning-riskA study published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology wanted to test out if using disinfectant wipes to clean the kitchen could reduce the risk of food poisoning. The research team used wipes on different counter top materials – granite, laminate, and ceramic tile – to determine if it would reduce the risk of ingesting harmful bacteria.

Their results were entered into a computer to calculate potential risk, and found that using disinfectant wipes could reduce the ingestion of bacteria up to 99.2 percent. This means the risk of developing food poisoning went from 2:10 to 2:1000.

Lead researcher, Dr. Gerardo Lopez, said, “The scary thing about Campylobacter is that you really don’t need to ingest that many bacteria to get a nasty illness, so we have to wipe clean our kitchen surfaces and wash our hands after preparing poultry.” Continue reading…

1 in 10 people worldwide suffer foodborne diseases: WHO study


worldwide suffer foodborne diseasesThe World Health Organization (WHO) has found that one in 10 people worldwide suffer from foodborne diseases, and children are suffering the most. The findings are based on over eight years of research and data analysis.

Task-force leader, Dr. Arie Havelaar, said, “The groups most adversely affected by the foodborne diseases are children and people in low-income regions of the world. Of those who lost years to ill-health, disability or early death, 40 percent were children under five years old, even though they constitute only nine percent of the world population. Foodborne illnesses affect people on the African continent the most, followed by sub-regions of Southeast Asia and the eastern Mediterranean.”

“Estimating the burden of foodborne diseases is highly complex due to the many diseases involved. The full extent of chemical and biological contamination of food, and its burden to society, is still unknown,” Dr. Havelaar added. Continue reading…