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WHO Produces First Study on Global Listeria

October 8, 2014

listeriaA new study financed by the World Health Organisation has given a picture of Listeriosis across the globe for the first time. Looking at 12,000 studies published between 1990 and 2012, researchers found that most cases of Listeria are reported in high income countries, while the greatest effects on quality of life are found in Latin America, Africa and Southeast Asia.

In 2010 there were 23,150 cases of Listeria monocytogenes worldwide, 5,463 of which proved fatal. Scientists are not convinced that those figures give an accurate picture as no information was available for 85 countries (almost half of the global population).

Listeria was first recognised as a food-borne pathogen in the 1980s and was responsible for 174 cases in the UK in 2010; the bug has a significant economic impact due to a high number of hospital admissions. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) estimates that the disease costs the UK economy an estimated £245 million every year.

In the United States Listeria monocytogenes is the third most costly food-borne pathogen behind Clostridium botulinum and Vibrio vulnificus. In 2010 the FSA set out to reduce the number of cases and deaths from Listeriosis by 2015 as part of its Listeria Risk Management Programme.

You can view the WHO Report here

You can view the FSA Listeria Risk Management Programme here