One woman dies and two suffer miscarriages as 100 people are struck down in Spain’s biggest outbreak of listeria
A 90-year-old woman has died and 56 people have been hospitalised following an outbreak of listeria in Spain.
A nationwide alert has been sent out after listeria, a bacteria which can cause a type of food poisoning called listeriosis, was suspected in packaged pork.
Most of the 114 cases have occurred in the southern Spanish region of Andalusia but people have fallen ill across the country, from Madrid to the island of Tenerife.
Of those affected in Andalusia, 56 have been hospitalised including 18 pregnant women, at least two of whom suffered miscarriages, regional health authorities said.
The 90-year-old woman died in hospital in Seville on Tuesday lunchtime.
Authorities are investigating whether a pork product sold by Seville-based Magrudis could be the source of the outbreak after several of those struck down were found to have eaten it.
The product under investigation is a pack of meat called ‘Mecha’, of which a batch of 2,000 are thought to be the source of the contamination.
Spain’s Health Minister Maria Luisa Carcedo said: “We are monitoring this, the alerts have been sent out and we’ve ordered that all products (that have come) from this factory since May be pulled from shelves.”
She said an investigation is looking into how the meat evaded what she called “strict food safety controls”.
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A spokesman for the firm said recalls had been put in place and an investigation launched into the possible source.
The Spanish consumer organisation FACUA warned the outbreak could get worse as many people don’t show symptoms straight away.
It can take up to four weeks for people to fall ill.
Listeriosis can cause aches and pains, chills, vomiting, diarrhoea and a high temperature.
It can be dangerous to pregnant women, newborns, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems.
Listeria can then cause damage to organs, spread to the brain or bloodstream, and be fatal.