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Listeriosis

Food-borne Illness: LISTERIOSIS
What is food-borne illness?

• Food-borne illness or "food poisoning" occurs when you consume food contaminated with disease-causing bacteria, viruses or parasites.

• People may not report incidence of food-borne illness because their symptoms are flu-like (stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and fever).

Latest update on Listeriosis outbreak from Public Health Agency of Canada - http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/alert-alerte/listeria/listeria_2008-eng.php

What is listeriosis?

• Listeria monocytogenes is a bacterium. It is often found in soil, vegetation, animal feed and in human and animal feces.

• Eating food contaminated with Listeria may lead to the development of a disease called listeriosis.

Where could I come in contact with Listeria?

• Listeria can be found in a variety of dairy products, vegetables, fish and meat products

• In this outbreak, the foods that are suspected include prepared ready-to-eat meats (deli meats). Refer to Canadian Food Inspection Agency's (CFIA) website www.inspection.gc.ca for details on recalled products.

• It can also be spread by contact with an infected product or surface, such as your hands or on counter tops, during food preparation.

What is the human health risk of listeriosis?

The very young, elderly, pregnant women or those with poorly functioning immune systems are the most susceptible.

Typically, the organism does not cause illness in a well person.

Listeriosis is treatable with antibiotics.

Death is uncommon, except in the very young, very old, or people with weakened immune systems.

What are the symptoms?

• Symptoms can include persistent fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea.

• Symptoms usually appear within two to 30 days, and up to 90 days after consuming contaminated food.

What if I think I've been sick with listeriosis?

• If any of the above symptoms persist, contact your health care provider for treatment.

How can I protect myself and my family from this type of food-borne illness?

• Avoid raw, unpasteurised milk or foods made from it such as raw milk cheese.

• Wash raw vegetables thoroughly before eating.

• Wash hands before, during and after handling any type of food, especially raw meat and poultry.

• Clean all utensils, cutting boards and work surfaces with a mild bleach solution (5 ml/1 tsp bleach per 750 ml/three cups water) before and after using.

• Separate utensils for raw and cooked foods.

What is being done to ensure that the food that I have bought is safe?

• The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) administers and enforces the acts governing food safety and food inspection at facilities such as food processing in federally registered slaughtering and processing establishments. As well CFIA is responsible for overseeing recalls of food products that may cause human illness or injury.

• For the most current information on food security, including any recalls, visit www.inspection.gc.ca or call 1-800-442-2342.

What should I do if I have purchased food that has been recalled?

• Food that has been recalled should be disposed of or destroyed in a manner to ensure that it cannot be consumed by others.

• If you have questions about the products you have purchased, contact the retail location from which you purchased it.

• If you have purchased a large quantity that cannot be easily disposed of, return it to the retail location or supplier you bought it from.