Seven cases of listeriosis were reported during 2012. All 7 cases were hospitalized, and 2 (29%) died. The median age of the cases was 80 years (range, 45 to 87 years). Six (86%) cases had Listeria monocytogenes isolated from blood. One case had L. monocytogenes isolated from a wound. One case was part of a multi-state outbreak due to imported ricotta salata cheese. The 7 cases reported in 2012 is similar to the median annual number of cases reported from 1996 through 2011 (median, 7 cases; range, 3 to 19).
Elderly persons, immunocompromised individuals, pregnant women, and neonates are at highest risk for acquiring listeriosis. Listeriosis generally manifests as meningoencephalitis and/ or septicemia in neonates and adults. Pregnant women may experience a mild febrile illness, abortion, premature delivery, or stillbirth. In healthy adults and children, symptoms usually are mild or absent. L. monocytogenes can multiply in refrigerated foods. Persons at highest risk should: 1) avoid soft cheeses (e.g., feta, Brie, Camembert, blue-veined, and Mexican-style cheeses) and unpasteurized milk; 2) thoroughly heat/reheat deli meats, hot dogs, other meats, and leftovers; and 3) wash raw vegetables.
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