The Minnesota Department of Health Issues Health Advisory: Listeriosis Along Hwy 94
On Tuesday, March 10, 2020, The Minnesota Department of Health issued a health advisory in relation to a Listeria outbreak along Highway 49. The advisory was directed specifically to local and tribal health departments, hospitals, clinics, other facilities and any other healthcare providers. The advisory was not issued to the public as the outbreak is not believed to be linked to any products currently on the market.
The advisory notes that Minnesota experiences approximately eight cases of listeriosis (invasive Listeria monocytogene disease) per year. Recently, two seemingly separate cases of Listeriosis, one a previously healthy teenager and the other, a person over the age of 60 years-old, have been confirmed in the state of Minnesota. After further investigation, the cases of Listeriosis were found to have zero allele differences in an entire genome sequence, indicating that they share a common strain of Listeria. After extensive questioning, officials discovered that both ill persons had eaten at China Buffet restaurant in Alexandria on February 15, 2020, before falling ill.
Upon investigating China Buffet, no fault has been found with their food safety procedures. Officials believe that the Listeria contamination may be the fault of a preceding supplier instead. China Buffet’s transactions are being tracked and each possible location investigated in order to pinpoint the source of the outbreak.
Health care providers and facilities were given the advisory in an effort to spread awareness for the detection of any future cases. Symptoms of Listeriosis include fever, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, and confusion. People at a higher risk for Listeriosis infection include pregnant women and their infants, elderly, and any other immunocompromised persons.
If the source of the Listeria outbreak of Minnesota is found to be linked to a public supplier of grocery stores or markets, the public will be immediately notified through the Food and Drug Association (FDA).