Listeria recall WARNING – what is the bacterial infection and can you die from it?

A US meat producer is recalling almost 90,000 pounds of ready-to-eat ham after a possible listeria contamination.

The potential contamination has been linked to one death and three illnesses.

Johnson County Hams of Smithfield, North Carolina, recalled deliloaf products that were produced between April 3 2017 and October 2 2018.

“The products subject to recall bear establishment number ‘EST. M2646’ inside the USDA mark of inspection,” said the United States Department of Agriculture.

“These items were shipped to distributors in Maryland, North Carolina, New York, South Carolina and Virginia.”

Listeria is a rare bacterial infection that can lead to listeriosis, according to the NHS.

While listeriosis should go away by itself, it can cause serious complications in some individuals, said the NHS.

Those most at risk are pregnant women, or those with a weakened immune system.

Most people with the infection require hospital treatment, added the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

But, one in five people can die from the bacterial infection too, it warned.

“Most people with invasive listeriosis require hospital care, and about one in five people with the infection die,” said the CDC.

“When listeriosis occurs during pregnancy, it can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, or newborn death.

“Listeriosis during pregnancy results in foetal loss in about 20 per cent, and newborn death in about three per cent of cases.”

The infection can cause a range of symptoms, depending on which part of the body is affected by the listeria bacteria.

The most common listeriosis symptoms include a high fever, aches and pains, or diarrhoea.

On rarer occasions, the infection can lead to meningitis, and needs to be treated immediately.

Dial 999 or go to A&E if you think you may have listeriosis and a severe headache, seizures, sudden confusion, or a rash that won’t fade.

The bacterial infection is most often caught by eating contaminated foods.

The foods most likely to cause infection are unpasteurised milk, soft cheeses, or chilled ready-to-eat products.

These foods don’t always cause listeriosis, however. If you’ve eaten them recently, you don’t need to worry unless you get symptoms of the infection.

Lower your risk of listeriosis by always washing your hands regularly with soap and water, added the NHS.

Washing fruit and vegetables before eating them, and making sure all hot food is steaming right the way through before eating, could also lower your chances of the infection.

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