Denmark’s listeria outbreak hits yet another

Almost three months after the confirmation of a listeria outbreak that has claimed a total of 17 lives, another new patient has been infected.

Denmark's listeria outbreak hits yet another
The rullepølse listeria outbreak has killed 17. Photo: Nils Meilvang/Scanpix
The listeria outbreak that began in August is not fully contained yet. 
The Danish State Serum Institute (SSI) said on Thursday that a new case of listeria infection traced to the original outbreak has been found. 
With the new patient, the total number of infected individuals increases to 41. Of those, 17 have died. 
The outbreak has been traced to the deli meat rullepølse produced by the company Jørn A. Rullepølser, which has been shut down. 
A total of 30 products – including variations of rullepølse, salami and hot dogs – were recalled.
“Several weeks can pass from when one eats food with the listeria bacteria until they become ill. The latest patient was sickened nearly two months after the company’s products were recalled from the market,” SSI said in a statement. 
SSI said that there have been an additional 38 cases of listeria infection not connected to the rullepølse outbreak. In late September, three people died from listeria in an asparagus soup served at Odense University Hospital. 

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New listeria discovery in Danish supermarkets

As a year that has been plagued by food scandals comes to an end, a new batch of listeria-infected deli meat has been detected and recalled from supermarkets.

New listeria discovery in Danish supermarkets
Sales of rullepølse have fallen by up to 30 percent due to the listeria outbreak from earlier this year. Photo: Jørgen Kirk/Scanpix
As was the case with a listeria outbreak that has thus far killed 17 people, a new outbreak of the bacteria has been found in the popular spiced deli meat rullepølse.
Nearly 60 kilos of the infected meat was produced by the Aarhus-based company Defco and delivered to Bilka and Føtex supermarkets nationwide. The contaminated batch of meat has an expiration date between December 24-29 and has been recalled by the company. 
Defco CEO Knud E. Czaja said he was surprised by the listeria discovery. 
“We send between 100 and 200 tests into the lab every month to be checked and in one of the tests here at Christmas time, there was a listeria suspicion. Therefore, we are recalling the product,” Czaja told Ritzau. 
“I have no idea how it happened. It could have come through the air or through a person. It is after all found everywhere and this isn’t something we have experienced before,” he added. 
Czaja said that the outbreak that began in August at the food company Jørn A. Rullepølser has caused Defco’s sales of rullepølse to drop by 30 percent. Jørn A. Rullepølser has since been shut down by the food authorities. 
A spokesperson for the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration (Fødevarestrylsen) said that the Defco sample contained 180 listeria bacteria per gram, which it characterised as a “moderate” violation of the 100 bacteria per gram limit. 
Anyone who has eaten the infected meat should seek medical attention if they experience flu-like symptoms, the administration spokesperson said.