The UK government is conducting an investigation regarding a listeria outbreak that has so far caused the deaths of three hospital patients. So far, the likely culprit for the outbreak are pre-packed sandwiches.
In London, three people have died while three others are still seriously ill due to a listeria outbreak in hospitals. According to authorities, the people who got infected with listeria were all seriously ill and were being treated in hospitals at the time when they were infected. Those who died were patients from two hospitals, one in Manchester and another in Liverpool.
Investigations by multiple agencies and local authorities are already under way, and so far, the infections are being linked to pre-packed sandwiches that were contaminated with listeria. According to Collin Sullivan, the chief operating officer of the Food Standards Agency, investigations on how the outbreak occurred are still currently ongoing and that the agency is also looking at ways to protect vulnerable groups from the outbreak.
The outbreak is being linked to pre-packed sandwiches and salads from supplier The Good Food Chain. So far, the company has withdrawn the products linked to the outbreak, and they have also temporarily halted production while the investigations are still ongoing.
Evidently, The Good Food Chain was supplied by North Country Cooked Meats with the meat that tested positive for the strain of listeria linked to the outbreak. Both the supplier of the meat as well as its distributor North Country Quality Foods have already voluntarily ceased production.
“To date, there have been no associated cases identified outside healthcare organisations, and any risk to the public is low,” said Deputy Director Dr. Nick Phin of National Infection Service.
Listeriosis in healthy people often go unnoticed or perhaps cause a mild sickness that will go away in a short time. However, in vulnerable people and in pregnant women, listeria can cause a more severe illness.
The most effective way of preventing listeriosis is by practicing good food hygiene, placing foods in the proper equipment as soon as they are delivered, and by not keeping foods out of their optimal temperature control for prolonged periods.