Additional reporting by Maria Ortega
Holidaymakers heading to Spain are advised to be careful after a listeriosis outbreak in various parts of the country. The number of confirmed people affected by the outbreak has already reached 150, while there are still more than 500 suspects waiting for the results of tests. Andalusia is the most affected are with 132 patients, but there are cases in four other regions of Spain. On top of reported cases in capital Madrid and Extremadura, three more were added on Tuesday in Aragon and three in Catalonia, as reported by the Minister of Health, María Luisa Carcedo.
The figure is expected to rise because in addition to the 523 that remain suspects in Andalusia, there are at least six possible cases in Madrid, including a baby; one in Castilla y León, and three more in Castilla-La Mancha.
The FCO have not updated their advice despite the ongoing situation.
Information from Andalusia has been updated today by the Minister of Health and Families, Jesús Aguirre.
He said in statements to Cope radio that the number of confirmed cases means that these people have tested positive.
At the same time, he stressed that the treatment to stop listeriosis is “very effective” and said that the “health system is working very well.”
He expressed regret at the the death of a 90-year-old woman during this outbreak of listeriosis due to contaminated shredded meat.
She died last Monday at the Virgen del Rocío Hospital in Seville, where she entered on the 15th August after five or six days with symptoms.
The Ministry of Health and Families issued a health alert on August 15 on the meat product (brand ‘La Mechá’, manufactured by Magrudis, based in Seville), after verifying that it was the cause of listeriosis outbreaks registered in Seville in recent weeks – however this came to late for the elderly woman.
The Minister of Health has said this Wednesday the monitoring cabinet will meet again to analyse the situation.
After stating that these meetings have been held “every two or three days since the alert was declared”, in order to see what new measures can be taken, Aguirre has warned that more cases will emerge in the next few days “because the incubation period is very variable, it goes from a few days from the moment of consumption to 70 days.”
He said: “Here we are perfectly controlling adverse effects.”
When asked about whether an excessive time was taken to detect the outbreak, Aguirre said his department knew that something was happening from the beginning of August because there was an “important uptick” in cases of listeriosis compared to the statistical average from other years.
However, until the first family outbreak occurred, it was not possible to send two or three suspicious products to analyse.
Epidemiologists were sent to a company that was thought to be the cause of the outbreak, but ultimately it was another.
“On the 14th the affected meat was detected and on the 15th the alert was declared,” he said.
He continued: ”Could it have been done faster? Well, I don’t know, but I do know that when the positive result came to us on the 14th, the alert was automatically decreed, the protocols for primary and hospital care were opened and assistance began.
“That’s the important thing and also to take care of patients; that’s what we focus on.”
On whether the municipal laboratory of the City of Seville took four days to get the results, the counsellor has indicated that “maybe there could have been a two or three day delay, but the important thing is the coordination from the moment the positive result arrived and the alert being declared.”