Warning over deadly listeria outbreak linked to smoked fish as 12 Brits fall ill

Listeria causes a bacterial illness called listeriosis. It is widespread in the environment and can contaminate different types of food stored in low or standard fridge temperatures

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Listeria: Food poisoning bug explained

Brits have been warned about an outbreak of the potentially deadly bacterial illness listeria.

A dozen Brits – including a pregnant woman – have fallen ill with the bacteria and food poisoning, which is thought to have come from smoked fish.

Listeria is a type of bacteria that can cause severe illness called listeriosis.

It is widespread in the environment and can contaminate a range of food at low or standard refrigeration temperatures but can be destroyed by thorough cooking.

It is of most concern in chilled, ready to eat foods that do not require further cooking, such as smoked fish, Birmingham Live reports.

The most common kind of smoked fish is salmon, but you can also buy other types in supermarkets including mackerel.

It can be destroyed through cooking



Tina Potter, head of incidents at the Food Standards Agency said: “We are working closely with UK partners across government to ensure that this advice is as clear as possible – members of the public do not need to avoid these products, but should ensure risks are reduced as far as possible.“

To limit your chances of getting sick, keep chilled ready-to-eat smoked fish cold in the fridge at 5C or below.

In 2019, a listeria outbreak was held responsible for the deaths of five patients who ate pre-packaged salads and sandwiches in UK hospitals.

The bacteria can cause a rare disease which can also kill in extreme cases


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The rare disease – which can be deadly in extreme cases – was thought to have infected nine people across NHS medical facilities.

The condition can be particularly dangerous for people with a compromised immune system – and in serious cases can cause gastroenteritis, sepsis and even meningitis.

The NHS says for most people, listeriosis has no symptoms or only causes mild symptoms for a few days, such as a high temperature exceeding 38C, aches and pains, chills, nausea and vomiting, and diarrhoea.

It can be particularly dangerous to people with compromised immune systems


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However, some people are more at risk of developing severe listeriosis, which can cause serious issues, including meningitis and even death.

The listeria bacterium is found in many different food types, but is mainly a problem in unpasteurised milk and its dairy products, soft cheeses like camembert and brie, as well as chilled ready-to-eat foods, like pre-packed sandwiches, pâté and deli meats

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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