Manitobans Warned of Rare Bacterial Infection : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread


Sun Jun 25, 8:19 am

Manitobans warned of rare bacterial infection

One person is dead and another eight have been made sick by a rare bacterial infection that's on the rise in Manitoba. The Medical Officer of Health is warning the public about an increase in the number of cases of listeriosis.

The elderly, newborns and those with a weakened immune system are most at risk.

If you're strong and healthy, a bout of listeria can pretty much go unnoticed. But if your immune system is weak or if you're pregnant, it could turn into something a lot more serious.

"It's characterized by a fever, intense headache, nausea, vomiting often with signs of meningitis or encephalitis," said Dr. Susan Roberecki, the deputy chief medical officer of health.

All nine recent cases in Manitoba effected people over the age of 55. Roberecki says her office is sounding the alarm bell because it normally see only three to four cases a year. "Listeria is found in the environment. It's found in dirt. It's found in animal stool and also in humans. About 10 per cent of humans carry listeria."

Listeria can contaminate any food. But soft cheeses and unpasteurized dairy products should be avoided.

Roberecki says she has yet to discover the source of this latest outbreak. But there are ways of reducing the risk. Cook all meats thoroughly and wash raw vegetables and fruits before you eat them.

If caught early enough, listeria can be treated with antibiotics.

-- Rachel Gibson (, June 25, 2000

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