A sudden surge in cases of gastrointestinal infection has swept Colorado. The state typically sees no more than 10 cases of listeria in a year, but nine Coloradans were hospitalized with the illness in August, and two have died. Seven cases were reported in just the last week.
Colorado public health officials are cautioning that vulnerable groups such as the elderly, pregnant and those with compromised immune systems should avoid certain foods such as hot dogs and other meats unless they have been heated to 165 degrees. Unpasteurized soft cheeses, refrigerated smoked seafood, cold cuts and meat spreads can carry the food-borne bacteria.
The Food and Drug Administration called for a recent recall of smoked salmon from Vita-Food Products because of the potential for listeria contamination.