A new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified those groups in society most vulnerable to foodborne Listeria infections.
The CDC Vital Signs report looks at data from foodborne Listeria outbreaks reported during the period 2009-2011. During that period twelve outbreaks were recorded, affecting 224 people in 38 states. Ten of these outbreaks were confirmed as foodborne and were mainly associated with soft cheese or fresh produce (cantaloupes and celery). A total of more than 1,650 cases of listeriosis were reported during the three-year study period.
The mortality rate for listeriosis was found to be about 20%, with infections in people over the age of 65 being most likely to result in death. Pregnant women, especially from Hispanic communities were also found to be at high risk, with infections potentially resulting in miscarriage, stillbirth, or death of a newborn infant.
The report also includes information on the importance of food safety controls to prevent contamination of foods by Listeria. It can be accessed here.