Wednesday, July 20, 2005
By Diana LaMattina
One of the four patients in Onondaga County infected with listeriosis has died due to complications of the food-borne bacterial illness, according to the county Health Department.
The adult patient died Tuesday, according to Dr. Cynthia Morrow, county health commissioner. The patient’s name and age are being withheld to protect the victim’s family, Morrow said.
Lab tests have established that three of the cases, which all surfaced this month, were caused by the same strain of listeria. That indicates the three probably got sick from a single source of contaminated food. The fourth patient surfaced a week later, and investigators are trying to determine whether that case is from the same strain.
The source of the bacteria has not been determined. Tracking the source is difficult because the disease incubates for up to 70 days before the person gets sick, Morrow said.
This outbreak is the only one known in the state at this time. Listeriosis can be fatal, but severe symptoms are unusual in healthy adults and children. The disease most often affects pregnant women, newborns or people with weakened immune systems.
A 75-year-old Liverpool woman died of listeriosis in 1998. She was one of 16 people who died in a multistate outbreak linked to contaminated hot dogs and deli meats.