Study calls for thorough cleaning in hospital kitchens to combat listeriosis outbreaks

Infection Control Today reports that a new research study (by Cokes, et al.) has flagged the importance of surface cleaning in hospital kitchens.   

"Because patient groups at high risk for severe outcomes of L. monocytogenes infection comprise a high proportion of hospital patient populations, the absence of guidelines in hospital food service practice is concerning.  We recommend that hospitals implement policies to avoid serving certain foods to patients at risk for listeriosis. .... In addition, routine and thorough cleaning of food contact surfaces in hospital kitchens is an essential practice to reduce opportunities for cross-contamination of foods with L. monocytogenes, an environmentally persistent pathogen."

The study of New York City hospitals was conducted after a listeriosis outbreak occurred in a NYC hospital. 

PubMed Health reports that Listeriosis is a dangerous infection caused by eating food contaminated with bacteria called Listeria monocytogenes (L. monocytogenes).  For treatment, antibiotics are prescribed to kill the bacteria that cause the infection. In a fetus or infant listeriosis results in a high death rate and infants who survive listeriosis may have long-term neurological damage and delayed development.  Healthy older children and adults have a lower death rate.

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