Friday, August 14, 2009

Listeria Outbreak In The Land of Oz

August 14, 2009

Somewhere over the rainbow – possibly in South East Queensland – a chicken wrap manufacturer was supplied with a Listeria monocytogenes-contaminated ingredient. The chicken wraps were distributed to various companies in South East Queensland, including Virgin Blue airlines.

The chicken wraps, which were withdrawn from the market in early July, according to Queensland Health, are thought to be the source of at least five cases of listeriosis. Two of the victims were pregnant women who gave birth prematurely as a result of their infection.

As a result of the chicken wrap incident – and in light of an increased number of reports of Listeria monocytogenes infections in Queensland and across all of Australia this year – Queensland Health is advising pregnant women, seniors, and anyone with reduced immunity to disease to be especially alert to the possibility of contracting Listeria monocytogenes. The New Zealand Food Safety Authority has issued a similar warning.

Several questions remain unanswered about this outbreak, most notably the nature and source of the contaminated ingredient, and the distribution pattern of the contaminated chicken wraps. And, of course, how many others – in addition to the five reported cases – were infected by the contaminated wraps.

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