Health Alert: Listeriosis in Spain

Location: Spain

Event: There have been over one hundred recently confirmed cases of listeriosis in Spain, largely in the Sevilla area.  As of August 23, regional health officials in Andalusia and the Spanish Ministry of Health have identified the suspected source as pork products produced by Magrudis company under the label “La Mecha” and other brands.

Listeriosis is a bacterial infection caused by the consumption of contaminated foods. Outbreaks such as these are rare in Spain.  Food control is generally excellent in the country and this incident should not cause general alarm.

Symptoms:

  • Flu-like symptoms including chills, fever and muscles aches
  • Diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms
  • Headache
  • Loss of balance and malaise

The incubation time for the infection can be months, so symptoms can take months to manifest. The disease can be severe when it affects older adults or people with weakened immune systems.  In pregnant women the infection can lead to spontaneous miscarriage, fetal death, or life-threatening infections to a newborn.

Actions to take:

  • Avoid eating La Mecha brand meat products.
  • Monitor local news reports for more information and updated lists of affected products.
  • Immediately contact a medical professional if you believe you are infected.
  • The World Health Organization advises refrigerating food at temperatures below 5 degrees celsius.

Assistance:

  • State Department – Consular Affairs
    888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444