British health officials on Friday said they’re investigating an outbreak of listeria that killed three hospital patients.
Public Health England said six patients became sickened after eating pre-packaged sandwiches and salads manufactured by the Good Food Chain. Hospital officials withdrew the company’s products after the infections.
PHE said North Country Cooked Meats, which supplies meat to the Good Food Chain, also recorded a positive test result for the strain of listeria. Both companies have ceased production of food products.
The listeriosis infections happened at multiple hospitals, with the deaths occurring in Manchester and Liverpool. All six infections were in seriously ill patients. No illnesses outside the healthcare system have been reported.
“Our thoughts are with the families of those patients who have died,” said Nick Phin, deputy director at the National Infection Service at PHE. “We, along with the [Food Standards Agency], colleagues in local authorities and the [National Health System] have worked quickly to determine the likely cause of this outbreak and taken action to reduce the risk to the public’s health.”
Listeriosis can cause fever, muscle aches, headaches, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, convulsions, diarrhea and gastrointestinal symptoms. In pregnant women, the infection can cause early delivery or miscarriage.