Sept. 24, 2008
FREDERICTON (CNB) - An appropriate followup and investigation following confirmation of a case of listeriosis in New Brunswick is being carried out by Public Health.
The case involves an elderly person who is recovering in hospital. The patient lives in a private residence.
This is the second 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 Foods plant in Toronto.
Specimens from the patient have been sent to the Public Health Agency of Canada's National Microbiology Laboratory 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.
Typically, there are two or three cases of listeriosis reported in New Brunswick each year.
Dr. Eilish Cleary, acting chief medical officer of health, said that 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," Cleary said. "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 particular concern to the very young, the elderly, pregnant women, and 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.
"It is important to remember that the bacteria that cause listeriosis can exist on many food products, not just those linked with the current recall," Cleary said. "Therefore good food handling practices are important at all times, not just during this period when we are being extra vigilant."
MEDIA CONTACT: Johanne Le Blanc, communications, Department of Health, 506-457-3513.