Portugal: Deadly bacteria discovered in school canteens, hospitals and retirement homes
More than 100 samples of the potentially deadly ‘Listeria monocytogenes’ bacteria, the causative agent of the highly infectious Listeriosis disease, have been found in a number of school canteens, hospitals and retirement homes around the country, a specialists microbiologist revealed last week.
Listeria monocytogenes is one of the most virulent food-borne pathogens, with 20 - 25 percent of clinical infections resulting in death.
According to Isabel Santos, of the National Public Health Institute’s Food Microbiology Laboratory, changes in present day diet and eating habits are to blame for the spread of the bacteria.
She believes the increasing consumption of ‘ready-made’ and ‘pre-prepared’ foods facilitates the spread of the bacteria.
Food that most easily becomes contaminated with the bacteria includes decomposing vegetables, pork, salamis, chicken pâtés, and turkey and beef products.
The death rate for those who become infected with Listeria monocytogenes increases with age, though the elderly, chronically ill and newborns are particularly vulnerable.
However, it was in various institutions that accommodate these ‘risk’ populations, such as hospitals and old age homes that the bug was found during a four-year study.
It was found in 101 samples gathered from various institutions, amongst which were school canteens, hospitals and retirement homes.
Isabel Santos has said action must be taken.
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