Listeria-monocytogenes.jpgOfficials at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment announced today that the state health department has identified a sharp increase in the number of Listeria monocytogenes infections reported to public health agencies.

Nine cases were reported during August, with seven of the nine cases reported since August 29. Individuals in all nine cases were hospitalized and two died. The affected individuals reside in the following counties: Adams, Arapahoe (2), Boulder, Denver, Douglas, El Paso, Jefferson and Weld. They range in age from the 30s to the 90s. The majority are older female adults.

In June the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment epidemiologists announced that they were working with Denver Public Health and Denver Environmental Health on an investigation of three reported cases of Listeria infection in Denver since May 20, including two deaths. All three cases involved people of Hispanic/Latino heritage. The two deaths were a male in his 30s and a female in her 60s.

Consumption of food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes can cause listeriosis, an uncommon but potentially fatal infection. Healthy people rarely contract listeriosis. Symptoms can include fever and muscle aches, and also can include diarrhea, headache, stiff neck, confusion and convulsions. Listeriosis also can cause miscarriages and stillbirths.