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FDA and FSIS Issue Health Advisory About Listeria

September 13, 2002

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) are advising the public of a recent increase in cases of Listeria monocytogenes in Pennsylvania and monitoring for possible increases in adjacent states. Contaminated food products can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women, serious and sometimes fatal infections in newborns, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea.

The specific food associated with the increased incidence of illness has not been identified. For this reason, FDA and FSIS are issuing this advisory as it continues to work closely with CDC and the states to identify the source of contamination. However, because of the number of cases and serious illness caused by Listeria monocytogenes, FDA and FSIS are providing the following information and advice to consumers.

People at risk for listeriosis and their family members or individuals preparing food for them should take the following precautions:

Consumers experiencing the symptoms described above or concerned with exposure should contact their physician immediately.

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