Health

Confirmed case of listeriosis in New Brunswick (08/09/08)

NB 1287

Sept. 8, 2008

FREDERICTON (CNB) - Public Health is carrying out the appropriate follow-up and investigation into a confirmed case of listeriosis in New Brunswick. The case meets the definition of a suspect case with regard to the national listeriosis outbreak being investigated across the country.

The case involves an elderly person who died recently in hospital. The person lived in a nursing home. Normal follow-up investigation is being carried out at the nursing home and at the hospital where the person died.

Specimens are being sent to the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg to determine if it is the same strain of listeria associated with the current outbreak. Testing will take seven to 10 days to complete.

This is the first confirmed case of listeriosis in New Brunswick since the national outbreak was first reported in mid-August along with the recall of products from a Maple Leaf Food plant in Toronto. Typically, there are two to three cases of listeriosis reported in New Brunswick each year.

Dr. Eilish Cleary, acting chief medical officer of health, said Public Health in New Brunswick has been working with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Public Health Agency of Canada since the outbreak started.

"Together, we have notified hospitals, long-term care facilities, schools and other higher-risk institutions with respect to the recall and carried out verification checks to ensure products were removed," said Cleary. "I would like to remind the public to be vigilant about products on the recall list and to go through their fridges and freezers to remove and throw out any of these food items."

Some of the food items that have been recalled are stamped with EST 97B on the label. A complete list of recalled products is available at http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/corpaffr/recarapp/recaltoce.shtml.

Listeriosis is most commonly contracted from eating food contaminated with the listeria bacteria. Symptoms include persistent fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, cramps, muscle aches (especially in the back), diarrhea and/or stiff neck. Listeriosis is of concern particularly to the very young, the elderly, pregnant women and to persons with poor immune systems. Illness from listeria usually occurs from two to 30 days after consuming food contaminated with the bacteria, but can occur up to 70 days later.

08/09/08

MEDIA CONTACT: Johanne Le Blanc, communications, Health, 506-457-3513.

08/09/08