martes, 29 de mayo de 2012

Public Health Agency to investigate listeria outbreak

The Public Health Agency is leading a detailed investigation into the potential source of an outbreak of Listeria among hospital patients.

Four cases including one death have been reported previously and two further cases have been confirmed. There have been no new cases identified since April 18.

As a precautionary measure, and while this investigation is ongoing, PHA has recommended that some pre-prepared foods should not be served to hospital in-patients.
This is a precautionary measure while the PHA, along with the Food Standards Agency, Environmental Health officials and HSC Trusts, continue to investigate the potential source of this outbreak.
PHA has taken steps to reassure patients, their relatives and the public by producing a patient and visitor information leaflet ‘Preventing food poisoning at home and in healthcare settings’ and also a short factsheet on Listeria.
These have been distributed to all HSC Trusts and give details of foods which may be associated with Listeria infection, practical food safety tips and advice on how to prevent food poisoning. PHA is also working with all Trusts to ensure that robust arrangements for food safety are maintained in the hospital setting.
Listeria is an uncommon infection in the hospital setting. It is usually food borne, most often found in ready-to-eat refrigerated and processed foods such as chilled meats, soft cheeses, cold cuts of meat, pates and smoked fish. It may also be found in food items containing one or more of these products e.g. sandwiches.

There would normally be between three to five cases of Listeria each year in Northern Ireland. Listeria is a rare but potentially life-threatening disease. Most adults experience only mild infections of the eye and skin or gastroenteritis. It can, however, lead to severe illness including blood poisoning or meningitis.

Older people and individuals with weakened immune systems, including those who have cancer, AIDS or issues with alcohol misuse, are all susceptible. Listeria may be particularly dangerous in pregnancy as it can present as a mild and ‘flu-like’ illness which is not serious to the mother but can cause miscarriage, premature delivery, still birth or severe illness in a newborn child.

The PHA is reminding patients in hospitals and those attending hospital day services that they should only eat foods provided on the wards by hospital staff and not eat foods from other sources such as hospital canteens, shops or restaurants. Visitors are urged not to bring food into hospitals for patients unless this has been discussed and agreed with ward managers.

Patients should wash their hands before and after eating, eat food as soon as it is served, dispose of any leftovers immediately and not hold over food for later consumption.

Fuente: ­
Aporte: Carla Uribe

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