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Number of listeria cases grows

The investigation by Public Health England (PHE) into the listeria outbreak has identified more linked cases. 


Using Whole Genome Sequencing PHE has analysed previously known cases of listeria from the past two months to see if they are linked and has found an additional three cases. This brings the total number of confirmed cases to nine and five patients have died. All cases so far been identified have been hospital patients.


Matt Hancock has instructed the NHS to: "conduct a root and branch review of hospital food.” The Hospital Caterers Association (HCA) has tweeted that it must help to lead this review and has urged the Health Secretary to engage, adding: "we are deeply concerned about failures in the supply chain."


PHE is continuing to analyse all recent and ongoing samples of listeria from hospital patients to understand whether their illness is linked to this outbreak. It is working closely with the Food Standards Agency, NHS England and NHS Improvement as well as partner organisations in Scotland and Wales.


Whole Genome Sequencing is a laboratory tool used to investigate the DNA sequence of bacteria. Using this technology, we can identify matches between samples taken from patients with listeria and the food products under investigation to confirm whether patients are linked to the outbreak.