Public Health England reports Listeria rise

By Joseph James Whitworth contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Death

169 cases were reported in 2014, said PHE
169 cases were reported in 2014, said PHE
Listeria illnesses increased by 5.3% in 2014 from the previous year to 169 cases according to Public Health England (PHE).

In the last decade (2005-2014) there was an average of 180 cases in England and Wales, a 23% increase from the previous decade (1995-2004) where an average of 137 cases was reported.

PHE said of the 169 cases, 35 died, compared to 28 deaths in 160 reports in 2013.

This increase could be a result of the rise in cases from ethnic minority groups and cases of bacteraemia in the elderly, said PHE.

Listeriosis is caused by the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes and is one of the major causes of death by foodborne illness.

Last year, males accounted for 45.6% of cases while females made up 54.4%. 65% were over 60 years of age and 40.9% were between 70 to 79 years old.

8% of cases were between 0 and 9 years old and 78% of these were infants.

In previous years, a large proportion of female cases were pregnancy related in the age group 20-39 years; however, in 2014, there was a high proportion of non-pregnancy-related cases in the age groups 0-9 years, 30-39 years and 70-79 years. 

It is too soon to speculate on whether this change in age and gender distribution is the start of a new trend or simply a chance finding, said PHE. 

Related topics: Food Safety & Quality

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