13:40 GMT28 January 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The outbreak of listeriosis in Spain has claimed its first life in Seville, the capital city of Andalusia autonomous community, with the source of the infection believed to be packaged meatloaves from a particular brand, el Periodico reported, citing local medical officials.

    A 90-year-old woman died after eating a La Mecha brand meatloaf, thought to be the origin of the outbreak, el Periodico reported, citing the infectious unit director of the Virgen del Rocio hospital, Jose Miguel Cisneros.

    According to the Spanish newspaper, the La Mecha meatloaf is predominantly sold in Andalusia, but small batches have also been supplied to Tenerife island and Castilla-La Mancha autonomous community.

    Spanish Health Minister Maria Luisa Carcedo reportedly declared a nationwide health alert earlier in the day after at least 80 people were confirmed as infected and 56 hospitalised with listeriosis.

    Of those who have been hospitalised, 15 are pregnant women. For them, the infection is particularly dangerous since its pathogen, Listeria monocytogenes bacteria, can seriously harm the fetus or cause miscarriage.

    Another unconfirmed listeriosis case has been registered in the Spanish capital of Madrid.

    Earlier this month, six people were reported to have died of listeria in the United Kingdom. There, too, people reportedly tested positive for listeria after eating sandwiches and salads of a particular food chain served at hospitals.

    Listeria bacteria make infected humans vulnerable to diseases such as meningitis and encephalitis and can turn lethal for individuals with weak immune systems, particularly infants and the elderly. Transmission usually happens by consuming contaminated foods, especially dairy and processed meat. Pathogens can survive in lower temperatures but are destroyed if cooked at high temperatures.


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