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Two more British patients die after listeria outbreak linked to pre-packed sandwiches in UK

These two deaths come after three patients died last week.

File photo
File photo
Image: Shutterstock/Juriah Mosin

TWO PEOPLE HAVE died of food poisoning after eating pre-packaged sandwiches and salads, UK health authorities have said, in a listeria outbreak that has already killed three people in British hospitals.

The patients died of listeriosis, a rare bacterial infection that is especially dangerous for people with weak immune systems or pregnant women.

The listeria bacteria primarily develops in dairy products and chilled ready-to-eat food, according to Britain’s National Health Service (NHS).

The source of the infection is reportedly products supplied by The Good Food Chain and the affected sandwiches and salads have since been withdrawn from hospitals.

“To date, there have been no patients linked to this incident outside healthcare organisations, but we continue to investigate,” said Nick Phin, the deputy head of the National Infection Service.

“Swift action was taken to protect patients and any risk to the public is low.”

The Good Food Chain supplies 43 NHS trusts, which often group together several hospitals, across Britain.

The chain had been supplied with meat produced by North Country Cooked Meats, which subsequently produced a positive test result for the outbreak strain of listeria.

These two deaths come after three patients died last week

Listeriosis 

Listeriosis is a rare infection and for most people it goes unnoticed or there are mild symptoms of gastroenteritis that usually last a short time without the need for treatment.

The time between exposure to the organism and the development of the illness can be up to 70 days.

Occasionally, however, a more serious infection develops and spreads to the bloodstream or brain. This can happen in people who have serious underlying health conditions and can also occur in pregnant women.

The best way to prevent listeriosis is to practice good food hygiene. PHE advises that chilled food should be put in a fridge or other suitable equipment as soon as it is delivered. Food that is required to be chilled is not permitted to be left out of temperature control for long periods of time.

PHE typically sees an average of 166 annual cases of listeriosis in England and Wales. 

Includes reporting by © – AFP 2019

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