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Unlinked Listeria Outbreaks in Canada and Denmark sicken 12, killing 5

Two residents in a retirement home in Ottawa, Canada, have died from listeria poisoning. The deaths are part of a month-long outbreak at the resident home.

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) says officials are investigating the outbreak at City View Retirement Community in Nepean. As of the last update on Tuesday, there were four confirmed cases among residents of the home, including the two people who have died.

High-risk foods, including deli meats, were removed from the home’s menu as of May 4, according to OPH.

OPH has conducted 10 site visits to the facility over the past month including multiple food safety compliance inspections and follow-up inspections, and at least one hazard analysis critical control point audit. None of the food tested by OPH has come back positive for listeria.

The investigation is supported by Public Health Ontario, as well as its laboratories, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

OPH has submitted food samples and environmental swab samples to the provincial lab, which needs about one week to provide preliminary results and an additional week to provide final results.

Eight people in Denmark have been infected with Listeria in the space of two weeks and three have died.

The Statens Serum Institut, Danish Veterinary and Food Administration (Fødevarestyrelsen) and DTU Food Institute are investigating to try and find the source of the outbreak.

Five men and three women became infected with the same type of Listeria between May 13 and 29, this year.

Patients range from 33 to 93 years old and all of them had an underlying disease or other immune system issue prior to infection that made them particularly vulnerable. Two had meningitis, five had sepsis, including a pregnant woman, and one had a cerebral abscess.

All eight have been hospitalized and three people died within 30 days of the sample being taken. Seven of them are from the Hovedstaden region of the country.

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