TRENTON -State Health and Senior Services Commissioner Clifton R.
Lacy, M.D. today announced that 19 cases of Listeria monocytogenes
have been reported statewide since the end of June.
people have died, not six as reported yesterday. Burlington County
health officials incorrectly reported the patient's status to the
state Department of Health and Senior Services.
19 cases are spread over 11 counties and the patients range in age
from newborn to 89. Eleven are females. The most recent date that
someone became ill in New Jersey was September 10.
date, New Jersey's deaths occurred in elderly residents of Bergen
(two deaths), Burlington, Mercer and Gloucester counties, ages 56
to 82, and all had underlying medical problems.
Jersey is part of a multi-state investigation led by the federal
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to determine whether
the New Jersey cases are linked to an outbreak occurring in 10 states
and its cause.
have been a total of 112 listeriosis cases reported nationwide.
Of these cases, almost all patients have been hospitalized and 19
patients have died.
infection is acquired through eating contaminated food products.
Listeriosis is caused by a bacterium that is found in soil and water,
and in animal feed. Outbreaks of the disease have been associated
with consumption of unpasteurized (raw) milk, soft cheeses, contaminated
vegetables and ready-to-eat meats.
exposed to the infection can become infected, but pregnant women,
newborns, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are
at highest risk.
disease is not spread person-to-person. Symptoms include fever,
muscle aches, and sometimes nausea or diarrhea. If the infection
involves the nervous system, it can cause meningitis and/or encephalitis,
which are characterized by headaches, stiff neck and confusion or
are actively participating in this multi-state, federally led investigation,''
said Commissioner Clifton R. Lacy, M.D. "High risk individuals
should take appropriate precautions.''
precautions include washing and cooking food thoroughly, keeping
uncooked meats separate from ready-to-eat foods, avoiding raw milk,
and thoroughly washing surfaces and utensils used to prepare raw
foods,'' said State Epidemiologist Eddy Bresnitz, M.D.
addition, it is prudent for people at high risk may want to take
the following additional precautions:
soft cheeses such as feta, Brie, Camembert, blue-veined and Mexican-style
leftover or ready-to-eat foods such as hot dogs until steaming
the risk of listeriosis associated with cold cut meats from deli
counters is relatively low, those at high risk may wish to avoid
them or thoroughly heat them before eating.
As part of the CDC investigation, New Jersey and other states have
begun to administer questionnaires to patients who have the disease
or to the next of kin of those who have died.
information about listeriosis may be obtained at the CDC website