Listeria outbreak: Toll rises to six as Sussex patient dies

Sandwich preparation Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption More than 40 hospital trusts were supplied with pre-packed sandwiches and salads by the Good Food Chain

A sixth hospital patient has died after eating pre-packaged sandwiches and salads linked to a listeria outbreak.

The latest death is one of nine previously confirmed cases linked to Good Food Chain products. There are no new linked cases, Public Heath England said.

The individual fell ill with listeriosis at Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

The trust said it was "greatly saddened" by the news.

Dr Maggie Davies, chief nurse and director of infection prevention and control, said: "Patient safety is always our absolute priority and as soon as we were informed we may have received contaminated chicken sandwiches from the Good Food Chain we removed all products from our hospitals.

"Since then, we have had no further listeriosis infections reported to us and we want to reassure our patients, visitors and staff that the risk remains very low."

Image copyright Science Photo Library
Image caption Listeria monocytogenes bacteria

The trust, which has sites in Worthing, Chichester, and Shoreham-by-Sea, was one of 43 hospital trusts across England supplied with pre-packed sandwiches and salads by the Good Food Chain, which has since gone into liquidation.

The other deaths occurred at four different hospital trusts - two at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, one at Aintree University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in Liverpool, one at University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust, and the fifth at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

There is another case at Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, one case at Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust and one at East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust, which have not been fatal.

The Good Food Chain, based in Stone, Staffordshire, voluntarily ceased manufacturing on 5 June following the deaths of five hospital patients.

The business was supplied with meat produced by North Country Cooked Meats, which has since tested positive for the outbreak strain of listeria and also stopped production.

In a statement on Thursday, Public Health England said it was continuing to test all samples of listeria on an ongoing basis to check if they were linked to the outbreak.

It said it had tested 34 samples and none were linked to the outbreak.

"Our investigations continue and the public should be reassured that the risk continues to be low," it said.

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