Outbreak Of Food Poisoning Hits Chile, Kills 5

Source of Article:  http://www.laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=321855&CategoryId=14094

91 people affected so far by bad brie cheese listeriosis outbreak.

SANTIAGO -- Chilean health authorities said that the number of deaths in Santiago following an outbreak of listeriosis detected in a type of brie cheese has risen to five people and not four as officials announced two days ago.

Thursday's report establishes that the deceased include a newborn baby, a little boy, two adults and one person suffering immune deficiency, the latter being the one added to the list of victims.

Health authorities ordered that Brie Lescure cheeses be taken off the market after finding that they contained the Listeria monocytogenes bacteria - which causes the infection - in a sample taken from the refrigerator of a 60-year-old man suffering from the disease.

According to the official report, 91 people have so far been found to be infected, of whom 42 percent are pregnant and form part of the highest-risk group.

Of the total number of infected patients, 59 percent live in the Las Condes and Vitacura districts of eastern Santiago.

Chile has between 20 and 25 cases a year of listeriosis, which poisons food, but during 2008 the number soared to 91 cases.

The director of the Public Health Institute, Ingrid Heitmann, said that currently there are between two and three cases of listeriosis per week.

The disease chiefly affects people with immune deficiency and pregnant women and can cause attacks of the nervous system, meningitis or pneumonia, and can even prove fatal to newborn babies and the elderly. EFE



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