British man believed to be first foreigner to contract listeriosis from outbreak in Andalucía

The infected meat.
The infected meat. / sur
  • Three have died and around 200 have been affected after consuming contaminated meat from the Seville-based La Mechá company

It would appear that a British man has become the latest victim in Spain's worst ever outbreak of listeriosis. The Ministry of Health believes that the man may have contracted the bacterial infection while on holiday in Andalucía before returning to the UK.

On his journey home, the man travelled via France, where it was confirmed that he had the infection and was admitted into hospital for some days, before completing his journey.

Listeriosis is a bacteria particularly dangerous for more vulnerable people, such as the elderly and children. Spain's recent outbreak has been traced to a type of processed pork known as ‘carne mechada’ made under the La Mechá brand of a Seville-based company. Analysis has since discovered that all of the company's products have been contaminated with the Listeria bacteria and have now been withdrawn from sale.

Fernando Simón, responsible for the national coordination of health alerts, has explained that the British man visited a health centre in Seville after consuming some of the 'carne mechada' around the middle of August. He said that test results will determine whether the strain with which he is infected is the same as that which claimed the lives of three people so far in the region and affected almost 200 more.

A 72-year-old man died last Friday, a day after a 90-year-old woman lost her life in hospital in Seville. Another woman, 74, died on Tuesday.

Two pregnant women also contracted listeriosis, resulting in miscarriage in the first case and a premature birth in the second, at 33 weeks.

An infected dog

The CEVE, representing Spanish vets, has also announced the case of a dog "strongly suspected" of having contracted the infection. According to experts, a 10-year-old greyhound has shown "digestive symptoms" after ingesting contaminated meat.

The dog's owners, a family with several members hospitalised due to the infection, took their dog to the vet last Friday after suspecting that their pet could also be infected.

President of CEVE, Delia Saleno, has assured that the dog is doing well, after having suffered "diarrhoea for some days".

"Fortunately it is a bacteria that affects dogs less. In this case, it is a 10-year-old animal and therefore its immune system is weaker, so the chance of contracting listeriosis was greater," she said.