Listeria outbreak at Causeway Hospital

THREE patients at the Causeway Hospital and Antrim Area hospital have a blood stream infection due to the Listeria Bacterium.

The Trust have declared an outbreak after a third patient contracted the infection today (Friday).

Olive MacLeod, Director of Nursing said that because three cases occurred within a short time, they had to declare an outbreak.

“ Normally there would be between three and five cases of Listeria per annum in Northern Ireland.

“Because these three cases have occurred within a short period of time, we are declaring an outbreak.

“At this point we cannot confirm if all three cases are the same strain, further laboratory testing is required and being undertaken” explained the Director of Nursing.

“We have been monitoring the situation in the past few days and on identification and confirmation of a third case this morning (Friday), have declared an outbreak as a precautionary measure.”

Listeria is an uncommon infection in the hospital setting.

It is usually food borne, most often in ready to eat refrigerated and processed foods such as chilled meats, soft cheeses, cold cuts of meat, pates and smoked fish.

“We are working with the Public Health Agency and Environmental Health Officers in relevant councils to conduct a detailed investigation of potential sources, said Ms MacLeod.

“In the interim we have reviewed the cold food chain in the hospitals and we are assured that our processes are robust and safe. We are also conducting a thorough review of the food received into the Trust. This work is complex requiring a multiagency approach and will take some time to complete.”