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Saturday, April 11, 2009


A ProMED-mail post

ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

Date: Wed 8 Apr 2009
Source: El Mercurio Online [edited]

The Undersecretary of Health, Jeannette Vega, has confirmed that the
source of a new strain of listeriosis is currently being investigated
at a specific meat company located in the northern sector of Santiago
after the bacteria was determined to have caused the death of 1
person, as well as 2 miscarriages.

"We are probing a specific industry in the northern area involved in
the meat packing business. Just like last year [2008] with Chevrita [a
Chilean brand of goat cheese], this year [2009] we have already
identified a possible source for the outbreak based on its
characteristics and as soon as we have results, we will release them,"
the ministry told Radio Cooperativa.

Vega warned that as long as the origin of contamination remains
unknown, people should continue to follow a series of recommendations
from the Ministry of Health that include, "washing your hands,
preventing cross-contamination by keeping foods separate, consuming
only pasteurized products, washing fruits and vegetables even if they
have been packaged, as well as consuming only meat and fish that have
been cooked."

The undersecretary stated that, so far this year [2009], there have
been a total of 13 reported cases of listeriosis, 8 of which "are
related to strain 001, which began to appear in October of last year

Communicated by:

[The 2008 outbreak of listeriosis in Chile, mentioned in the news
report above, in which the source was "Chevrita," perhaps refers to
the 91 cases of listeriosis that occurred mainly in a wealthy section
of Santiago and that led to withdrawal of a brand of brie, a soft
cheese often implicated as a source of listeriosis, in which
_Listeria monocytogenes_ was detected (see ProMED post Listeriosis,
fatal - Chile: (Santiago) cheese susp. RFI 20081128.3754). The news
report above also states that the strain of _L. monocytogenes_
isolated in 8 of the 13 cases in the current outbreak, now attributed
to consumption of "meat," is "related," perhaps on the basis of
genotyping, "to strain 001, which began to appear in October of last
year [2008]." Assuming strain 001 was the cause of the 2008
"Chevrita" outbreak, the details of how these 2 outbreaks are linked
is obviously yet to be determined. Also, the type of meat involved in
the current outbreak is not given.

_Listeria monocytogenes_, the cause of listeriosis, is widely
distributed in nature. The organism can be found in soil, water,
silage, raw vegetables, raw meat and poultry, raw and pasteurized
milk, soft cheeses, kitchen premises, and in the intestinal tract of
many animals, including cattle, sheep, and humans, and in
crustaceans, fish, shellfish, ticks, and insects.

Most human infections are foodborne, although vertical transmission
can occur from mother to fetus transplacentally or during delivery
through an infected birth canal, and localized skin infections can
occur in veterinarians and farmers by direct contact with infected

Contamination of food can occur in nature, such as, raw vegetables
contaminated by soil and manure, and raw milk from infected cows; or
contamination may occur following subsequent cooking or other
processing. Because the organisms can multiply at refrigerator
temperatures, it is not surprising that listeriosis is usually
associated with ingestion of contaminated milk, meat or vegetable
products that have been held at refrigeration temperatures.

Listeriosis is more severe in newborns, pregnant women, people 60
years of age or older, and those with compromised immune defenses. A
detailed discussion of listeriosis can be found in ProMED-mail post

Santiago, in Chile's central valley, can be located on the
HealthMap/ProMED-mail interactive map at
. - Mod.ML]

[see also:
Listeriosis, Mexican-style cheeses - USA: risk, recall 20090401.1261
Listeriosis, fatal, meat product - Canada: unconf. 20090307.0957
Listeriosis, fatal - Chile: (Santiago) cheese susp. RFI 20081128.3754
Listeriosis, fatal, meat product - Canada (04) 20081005.3147
Listeriosis, fatal, meat product - Canada: alert, recall 20080821.2605
Listeriosis - USA: (MA), update 20080118.0223
Listeriosis - USA: (NC, MA), alert 20071230.4186
Listeriosis, nosocomial - Norway: (Oslo) 20071024.3452
Listeriosis, unpasteurized cheese - USA (IN) 20070425.1351
Listeriosis, sandwiches - UK (England): alert, recall 20070326.1049
Listeriosis, seafood - USA 20060130.0295
Listeriosis - USA (TX) 20050824.2491
Listeriosis - USA (NY) (05) 20050819.2431
Listeriosis - USA (NY) 20050707.1925
Listeriosis, cluster - USA (VA) (02): background 20040723.2013
Listeriosis, cluster - USA (VA) 20040722.1999
Listeriosis, new prevention regulations - USA 20030605.1385
Listeriosis - USA (multistate) (08) 20021015.5556
Listeriosis, poultry - USA: recall 20021014.5550
Listeriosis - USA (multistate) 20020915.5323
Listeriosis - USA (Pennsylvania) 20020901.5205]

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