MORE than 200 people have been infected with Listeria across Spain, with 150 in Andalucía and a Tenerife family of seven, along with the remainder from five mainland regions. It has also claimed the lives of three elderly people.

It the country’s biggest-ever outbreak of the disease, and the affected people all consumed crackling or scratching from pork-based products, made by the La Mercha meat firm and distributed by Sevilla-based company Magrudis.

As reported in last week’s Canarian Weekly, the Health Ministry was told on 10th July that a small portion of the processed shredded meat, Carne Mechada, containing the Listeria bacteria, was sold to an Adeje cafeteria.

As a result, Tenerife’s Health Department has made it clear that all batches of the La Mecha meat, manufactured since May, must be withdrawn.

The department has stressed that its priority is to control the outbreak, then investigate how the outbreak occurred.
Fortunately, none of the seven-strong family showed any symptoms of a serious nature, and they had all recuperated after 24 hours, with no one needing urgent medical attention.

They all consumed the products before the contamination alert became public knowledge. But it was discovered that the meat had been carried inside a suitcase, while the people travelled from Sevilla to the Canary Islands

The product was, possibly, contaminated because it hadn’t been preserved in the correct conditions.

The food was purchased in Andalucía and eaten by the family when they returned back to the islands on 10th August.

This information was released by Juan José Alemán,

General Director for the Canary Islands’ Public Health Department.

Meanwhile, a third person has died in Spain’s biggest-ever Listeria outbreak. A 74-year-old woman was confirmed dead at Sevilla’s Virgen del Rocio Hospital at 1.15pm on Tuesday.

She was hospitalised on 12th August after ingesting the deadly listeria monocytogenes bacteria, and was among three patients transferred to the intensive care unit (ICU).

It followed the death of a 90-year-old woman, while two pregnant females were believed to have miscarried as a result.

Spain’s Health Ministry has released pictures of the affected meat, warning the public against eating it, in any form.

Another death was thought to be that of a 72-year-old man, who had terminal pancreatic cancer, and the Ministry of Health is still investigating.

Added to the Listeria sufferers are a British man and a greyhound, confirmed on Tuesday after the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Sevilla opened an investigation last Friday.

But the outbreak is thought to be decreasing in severity, slowly, with just three new cases reported on Tuesday, and one the following day.

The deadly infection is expected to be under control within the next 15 days, said a Government spokesperson, while Andalucia Health Minister Jesus Aguirre confirmed: “We expect to have the outbreak under control in 10 to 15 days.”

The Ministry of Health has published pictures of the food in question, warning the public not to consume the product, adding that if they have any unusual symptoms, they should visit a doctor.

Listeria is a bacterial infection that can cause sepsis, meningitis and encephalitis, and, as has been proved, it can be fatal!

Symptoms include a high temperature of 38°C or above, aches and pains, chills, feeling sick or vomiting and diarrhoea.

The infection mainly affects unpasteurised milk, dairy products made from unpasteurised milk, soft cheeses like camembert and brie, along with chilled, ready-to-eat foods, such as pre-packed sandwiches, pate and deli meats.





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