TWO pregnant women gave birth prematurely after eating contaminated chicken wraps with Listeria monocytogenes
The airline confirmed yesterday that up to 5000 flights in May and June could have carried the snacks laced with potentially deadly Listeria monocytogenes. Five Queenslanders are known to have contracted listeriosis food poisoning after consuming the wraps, including the two women who gave birth prematurely, a known complication of the illness. Both women and their babies survived.
Virgin Blue public affairs manager Heather Jeffery said three other companies had received the apparently tainted chicken meat. Queensland Health refused to name them last night, but said that there had been no other reports of Listeria poisoning.
"There was an ingredient in a batch ... of chicken meat which was supplied to our caterers, which was then supplied to us," Ms Jeffery said. Virgin Blue said it withdrew the chicken wraps at the end of June, but health authorities say more cases could emerge, given that the incubation for Listeria poisoning is up to 70 days.
Queensland Health is warning pregnant women who fear they could be victims of the food scare to see their doctor. According to these sources there has been a spike in listeriosis cases this year, with nine recorded in Queensland and 56 across Australia. Listeriosis symptoms include fever, headache, tiredness, aches and pains, diarrhea, nausea and abdominal cramps. More severe cases may lead to meningitis or septicemia.
Several people purporting to be Virgin passengers went on talkback radio in Brisbane yesterday saying they had been made ill by chicken wraps eaten on flights in April and January.
The airline and Queensland Health authorities are urging anyone who feared they were at risk to see doctor.
Additional reporting: Australian Associated Press