Two Northern B.C. residents, one from Fort St. John, are sick as a result of Listeriosis (pronounced "Lis-Steer-ee-OH-sis"), a potentially deadly form of food poisoning.
A spreading outbreak of the bacteria has left one person dead and dozens more sick across Canada. The illness is suspected to be linked to contaminated ready-to-eat deli meats produced at Maple Leaf Consumer Foods plant in Toronto since June 2nd.
They have been distributed to fast-food restaurants, institutions, nursing homes, hospitals and supermarket delis across Canada.
The Public Health Agency of Canada says that most of the victims, whose age averages 65, are believed to have eaten the same food in nursing homes and hospitals in July.
Twenty-three ready-to-eat deli meats have been recalled and the Maple Leaf production plant in Toronto has been temporarily shut down.
In addition, a review has been launched into food safety procedures at the facility. The recall, which was instigated Sunday by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, initially included only two varieties of packaged meat, after some of the products tested positive for low levels of the bacteria found in the environment.
The Vancouver Sun quotes Sonya Kruger, of Northern Health, as saying the B.C. patients confirmed to have been affected by the meat were already in hospital when they fell ill. One of the patients lives in Prince George, the other in Fort St. John, and were in different hospitals when the illness hit.
In addition, at least three other suspected cases in B.C. are under investigation. In confirming the connection between the recalled meat and the illness, a doctor with the BC Centre for Disease Controlis quoted by the Sun as saying that the B.C. patients are still undergoing treatment.
She said they are adults, but not elderly, and they both have underlying conditions which put them at higher risk. She added the patients got sick in June and July but she was not able to say whether they are still in hospital.
However, Doctor Perry Kendall, the Chief Provincial Health Officer, says both are in long term care facilities and recovering.
Restaurants, grocery stores, nursing homes and other possible consumers of the products, are now being contacted to ensure the meat is out of their meals and off their shelves.
For a list of what has been recalled Click Here