The Association of Community Medical Specialists says that only one patient is confirmed to have been infected with Listeria so far in Sri Lanka.
Joining a press briefing yesterday (March 16), the media convener of the association Dr. Naveen de Soyza mentioned that some facts circulating on social media are not, in fact, true.
Speaking further, Dr. Soyza emphasized that although these reports claimed that two other patients had died due to Listeria infections, it is yet to be confirmed that they were infected with the bacteria.
Meanwhile, special studies are being carried out surrounding Sri Pada (Adam’s Peak) area where the incidents were reported, Dr. Soyza noted.
The doctor, who points out that Listeria can be infected through contaminated food, highlighted that diarrhea, stomachache, and fever may appear as symptoms, once infected.
Furthermore, the patients may experience unconsciousness after being infected with the bacteria, according to Dr. Soyza.
He stated that washing hands properly, maintaining cleanliness, and following proper hygienic practices are adequate to avoid this disease.
In the meantime, when inquired by the Public Health Inspectors’ Association says that 10 more patients diagnosed with suspected food poisoning and bacterial infections have been reported so far.
In addition, the president of the association Upul Rohana urged all devotees and pilgrims to follow safe and hygienic food practices properly. He also requested the general public to bring boiled water from home as much as possible while going on pilgrimages.
Listeriosis, [the scientific name for the infection of Listeria] is a serious infection caused by the germ Listeria monocytogenes in which people usually become ill after eating contaminated food, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the national public health agency of the United States.
The disease primarily affects pregnant women, newborns, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems. It is rare for people in other groups to get sick with Listeria infection.
Listeriosis is usually a mild illness for pregnant women, but it causes severe disease in the fetus or a newborn.
The CDC also mentions that Listeria can cause fever and diarrhea as symptoms, similar to other foodborne germs.
The disease can be treated with antibiotics, as per the reports of the CDC.