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NEW CDC STUDY SHOWS NO RISE IN INCIDENCE OF LISTERIOSIS

 NEW CDC STUDY SHOWS NO RISE IN INCIDENCE OF LISTERIOSIS
 /ADVANCE/ WASHINGTON, April 14 /PRNewswire/ -- A new study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), to be reported in the April 15 Journal of the American Medical Association, shows that the incidence of a rare bacterial disease that can be caused by eating contaminated foods has remained steady and perhaps even declined since the last CDC survey in 1986. Infections caused by the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes occur almost exclusively in women who are pregnant or in people whose immune system is weakened by conditions like cancer or HIV infection or by taking medications like steroids or chemotherapy.
 The National Food Processors Association (NFPA), the science- based voice of the food industry, commented that Listeria is found everywhere, in soil and vegetation as well as animals and even in about 5 percent of normal, healthy humans. "Typically, it is only when the bacterium contaminates food at high levels, and the food is consumed by a person at risk, that serious health consequences result," said Dr. Lester M. Crawford, NFPA's top scientist.
 "It is particularly encouraging to note that the incidence of listeriosis, the disease caused by Listeria, has remained at about the same level since the last CDC survey in 1986, while the nation's population has increased and detection methods have improved significantly," Crawford added.
 CDC estimates that 1,850 infections and more than 400 deaths occur in the United States each year due to listeriosis. Listeria can cause such serious infections as meningitis, blood poisoning and complications of pregnancy such as stillbirths. The incidence rate reported in the current studies, while verifying that listeriosis is a rare occurrence, has remained virtually unchanged from earlier surveillance information published by CDC.
 NFPA has urged regulatory agencies to focus monitoring and compliance efforts on those products epidemiologically implicated in disease outbreaks and on those practices that can result in unacceptable levels of contaminants.
 NFPA also outlined steps that consumers should follow to reduce the risk of all types of food poisoning, including listeriosis:
 -- Purchase food only from safe, reliable sources.
 -- Cook raw foods thoroughly.
 -- Hold cooked foods at 140 degrees Fahrenheit or above.
 -- Cool cooked foods rapidly before storage.
 -- Hold refrigerated foods at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
 -- Reheat all food thoroughly.
 -- Wash hands thoroughly before handling food.
 -- Minimize hand contact with food.
 -- Thoroughly sanitize all food contact surfaces.
 -- Keep raw and cooked foods separate.
 -- Wash raw fruits and vegetables thoroughly.
 -- Avoid temperature abuse of cold foods by refrigerating chilled
 foods promptly and making sure home refrigerators maintain
 temperatures of less than 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
 NFPA's three research laboratories serve the association's 500 member companies, manufacturers of the nation's processed-packaged fruits and vegetables, meat and poultry, seafood, juices and drinks, and specialty products.
 -0- 4/14/92/1500
 /CONTACT: Timothy Willard of the National Food Processors Association, 202-637-8060/ CO: National Food Processors Association; Centers for Disease
 Control ST: District of Columbia IN: SU:


DC -- DC023 -- 7874 04/13/92 15:10 EDT
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Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Apr 13, 1992
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