Publisher’s Platform: Listeria Kills – Especially the Elderly

Source: Food Safety News - News Desk The European Food Safety Authority issued a report last week that European experts have noted an increasing trend in Europe of listeriosis since 2008, but they highlight that the number of affected people stabilized from 2014 to 2015. Infections were mostly reported in people over 64 years of age. Listeriosis affected about 2,200 people in 2015, causing 270 deaths – the highest number ever reported in the EU. The proportion of cases in the over 64 age group steadily increased from 56% in 2008 to 64% in 2015. Additionally, in this period, the number of reported cases and their proportion has almost doubled in those over 84 years. 082712mapIn the US I am a bit too familiar with the horrors of the bug – especially on the elderly.  I think we all recall the Jensen Farms Cantaloupe Listeria outbreak of 2011.  The CDC reported that 147 persons were infected with any of the five outbreak-associated subtypes of Listeria. These persons lived in 28 states. The number of infected persons identified in each state was as follows: Alabama (1), Arkansas (1), California (4), Colorado (40), Idaho (2), Illinois (4), Indiana (3), Iowa (1), Kansas (11), Louisiana (2), Maryland (1), Missouri (7), Montana (2), Nebraska (6), Nevada (1), New Mexico (15), New York (2), North Dakota (2), Oklahoma (12), Oregon (1), Pennsylvania (1), South Dakota (1), Texas (18), Utah (1), Virginia (1), West Virginia (1), Wisconsin (2), and Wyoming (4). The number of outbreak-associated deaths totaled 33 deaths. In addition, one woman pregnant at the time of illness had a miscarriage. Ten other deaths not officially attributed to listeriosis occurred among persons who had been infected with an outbreak-associated subtype.  Among persons for whom information was available, ages ranged from And, it is very real: