Source of listeriosis fatal to Moore sought
By Andi Atwater
Published by news-press.com on June 23, 2005
A rare bacteria that can cause meningitis has claimed the life of a well-known community activist and longtime Rotarian.
Robert “Bob” Moore, 79, died last Thursday after a sudden onset of headache and nausea pegged to what’s called the Listeria monocytogenes bacterium.
Lee County public health officials are trying to find its source.
The bacteria, which can cause a serious infection called listeriosis, is so rare that only about one in 200,000 people — mostly the elderly, pregnant or those with weakened immune systems — get ill from it.
Last year, Florida recorded 24 cases but none in Lee County, said public health director Dr. Judith Hartner.
Two people in Lee County came down with listeriosis in 2003, but none died, she said. There were no cases in 2002.
Fourteen cases of listeriosis have been reported across the state this year. Moore is the first Lee County case.
Listeriosis usually is caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium, particularly processed foods such as soft cheeses and deli meats or hot dogs.
Health officials have not pinned down how Moore became ill.
If health officials can pinpoint a specific source of the bacteria, they can prevent others from getting ill.
“This is a very unusual infection, and it’s a public health concern because it can be associated with food-borne transmission,” Hartner said. “Having said that, I will say in our interviews with his family, we don’t see anything to suggest anything like that is going on here.”
Moore’s death took his family by surprise and shook his large community of friends and fellow Rotarians, who said Moore was fairly healthy and active before he took ill last week.
He was a charter member of the East Fort Myers Rotary Club 32 years ago and one of only two founding members still active in the club.
Moore was instrumental in starting several Rotary traditions, such as the officer and deputy of the month awards started in the 1970s to recognize outstanding police work.
Fort Myers Police Chief Hilton Daniels remembers Moore fondly.
“Bob Moore was one of the leading advocates for Neighborhood Watch within the city of Fort Myers,” he said. “He was a pleasure to work with, a personal friend, a friend of the police department and will be missed by all employees.”
East Fort Myers Rotary President Jerry Moore (no relation) said former Lee County Sheriff Rod Shoap was one of the first recipients of the monthly award when he was a deputy.
Robert Moore also had an alter ego: “Robo,” his longtime clown persona as a member of the Caloosa Clowns No. 97.
Moore, a retired manager of the former Scotties Home Builders Supplies in east Fort Myers, will be missed, Jerry Moore, 65, said.
“He was always telling jokes — most kind of corny, maybe he’d told it to you before — but that’s the clown part of him,” Jerry Moore said. “Bob never wanted to be president of our club. He always wanted to work in the background. That’s where he was most comfortable … talking to people, officers, restaurant and shop owners. Everybody knew Bob.”
Robert Moore is survived by his wife, Dora; son, Douglas; stepson, Donald Cramley; stepdaughter, Vicki Carlson; five grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.