Journal Article

Multistate Outbreak of <i>Listeria monocytogenes</i> Infection Linked to Delicatessen Turkey Meat

Sonja J. Olsen, Mary Patrick, Susan B. Hunter, Vasudha Reddy, Laura Kornstein, William R. MacKenzie, Kimberly Lane, Sally Bidol, Gillian A. Stoltman, Douglas M. Frye, Irene Lee, Sharon Hurd, Timothy F. Jones, Tracy N. LaPorte, Wallis Dewitt, Lewis Graves, Martin Wiedmann, Dianna J. Schoonmaker-Bopp, Ada J. Huang, Curt Vincent, Al Bugenhagen, Joe Corby, Edmund R. Carloni, Mara E. Holcomb, Raymond F. Woron, Shelley M. Zansky, Gerrie Dowdle, Forrest Smith, Susann Ahrabi-Fard, Anna Rae Ong, Nicole Tucker, Noreen A. Hynes and Paul Mead

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 40, issue 7, pages 962-967
Published in print April 2005 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online April 2005 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/428575
Multistate Outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes Infection Linked to Delicatessen Turkey Meat

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Background. Despite a decreasing incidence of listeriosis in the United States, molecular subtyping has increased the number of recognized outbreaks. In September 2000, the New York City Department of Health identified a cluster of infections caused by Listeria monocytogenes isolates with identical molecular subtypes by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and ribotyping.

Methods. To determine the magnitude of the outbreak and identify risk factors for infection, we notified state health departments and conducted a case-control study. A case was defined as a patient or mother-infant pair infected with Listeria monocytogenes whose isolate yielded the outbreak PFGE pattern. Controls were patients infected with Listeria monocytogenes whose isolate yielded a different PFGE pattern. Patients were asked about food and drink consumed during the 30 days before the onset of illness.

Results. Between May and December 2000, there were 30 clinical isolates of Listeria monocytogenes with identical PFGE patterns identified in 11 US states. Cases of infection caused by these isolates were associated with 4 deaths and 3 miscarriages. A case-control study implicated sliced processed turkey from a delicatessen (Mantel-Haenszel odds ratio, 8.0; 95% confidence interval, 1.2–43.3). A traceback investigation identified a single processing plant as the likely source of the outbreak, and the company voluntarily recalled 16 million pounds of processed meat. The same plant had been identified in a Listeria contamination event that had occurred more than a decade previously.

Conclusions. Prevention of persistent L. monocytogenes contamination in food processing plants presents a critical challenge to food safety professionals.

Journal Article.  3139 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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