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Listeriosis (bacterium Listeria Monocytogenes)

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Listeriosis (bacterium listeria monocytogenes)

Food-borne illness is a serious yet preventable public health issue that requires many layers of oversight to combat. The United States Department of Agriculture incorporates an agency called the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS); it is their mission to ensure that the nation's commercial supply of meat, poultry, and egg products is safe, wholesome, and correctly labeled and packaged. This agency must be doing a thorough job because none of the Listeriosis outbreaks originated in the meat, poultry or egg industries. Listeriosis has caused two serious outbreaks in recent years, cantaloupes in 2011, and cheese in 2012. This paper will discuss the identification, patient symptoms, cause, a recent outbreak, and methods of defense from Listeriosis.

According to CDC - Definition And Symptoms - Listeriosis (January 7, 2013)," Listeriosis, a serious infection usually caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes, is an important public health problem in the United States." (para. What is Listeriosis?). Transmission of Listeriosis can be in many ways; the most common is through soil and water. Agricultural products that come in contact with contaminated soil or water carry the bacteria to the next destination. Many animals can carry the bacterium without any symptoms, yet be contaminated as a food source like meat and dairy products.

A person infected by the Listeriosis monocytogenes bacterium will most likely develop a fever, diarrhea, muscle aches, and stiff neck. Some further developments include convulsions, loss of balance, and confusion. Although persons of all ages can be infected, elderly, newborns, pregnant women, and adults with autoimmune deficiencies are most at risk. Babies have been born with the illness when their mothers consumed contaminated food during pregnancy. Then there are some persons who consume contaminated foods and never develop symptoms.

In 2011, Listeriosis killed 30 people, infected 146, and resulted in one miscarriage during an outbreak between August 8 and December 11. Although the contamination originated in Jensen Farms' production fields in Granada, Colorado, reports of illness were spread to 28 states. On September 2, 2011, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) advised the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of seven cases of Listeriosis in the past five days. Cantaloupes were collected from one ill person's home on September 5th, subsequently many other persons who became ill reported consuming cantaloupes. The CDC traced the contaminated fruit to Jensen Farms; a broker for Jensen Farms ceased shipment of the fruit and asked the retailers to remove the fruit from their shelves. Later in September, two companies that prepare and package cut cantaloupe also initiated recalls because they purchased



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