Thursday, September 11, 2008

Listeriosis Outbreak In Quebec

Cheese Plants Under Watch -- The Montreal Gazette

The government of Quebec and representatives of provincial cheese producers and retailers vowed yesterday to improve safety measures in the wake of a province-wide listeriosis outbreak linked to tainted cheeses that has claimed one life and might have caused one pregnant woman to lose her baby.

Health officials in Quebec City confirmed yesterday that seven pregnant women in the province have contracted the infection. As a result, six babies were born prematurely and three of them are still fighting listeriosis.

Another pregnant woman lost her fetus at five months on Tuesday because of the infection, said Horatio Arruda, Quebec's director of public health protection. He could not say if the case is related to the consumption of contaminated cheese products.

"We are waiting for lab results," Arruda said. "But what we know is that she had a blood infection caused by listeriosis."

There are 22 confirmed cases of listeriosis in Quebec that have been linked to the consumption of contaminated cheeses. Arruda said four other cases are being investigated, and the number of listeria cases can still grow because the incubation period for the bacterium can be as long as 70 days.

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