In May 2016, two separate clusters of febrile gastroenteritis caused by Listeria monocytogenes were detected by the local health authority in Piedmont, in northern Italy. We carried out epidemiological, microbiological and traceback investigations to identify the source. The people affected were students and staff members from two different schools in two different villages located in the Province of Turin; five of them were hospitalised. The epidemiological investigation identified a cooked beef ham served at the school canteens as the source of the food-borne outbreak. L. monocytogenes was isolated from the food, the stools of the hospitalised pupils and the environment of the factory producing the cooked beef ham. All isolates except one were serotype 1/2a, shared an indistinguishable PFGE pattern and were 100% identical by whole genome sequencing (WGS). By combining a classical epidemiological approach with both molecular subtyping and WGS techniques, we were able to identify and confirm a Listeria gastroenteritis outbreak associated with consumption of sliced cold beef ham.
Maurella, C., Gallina, S., Ru, G., Adriano, D., Bellio, A., Bianchi, D. M., … Decastelli, L. (2018). Outbreak of febrile gastroenteritis caused by listeria monocytogenes 1/2A in sliced cold beef ham, Italy, may 2016. Eurosurveillance, 23(10). https://doi.org/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2018.23.10.17-00155