Food Safety News reports that at least 90 people have been affected and three have died in a major Listeria outbreak in Italy.

The Ministry of Health (Ministero della Salute) said the most recent patient was reported in mid-September.

Deaths occurred in December 2021 and March and June 2022 in Lombardy, Piedmont, and Emilia Romagna. The patients were immunocompromised or particularly vulnerable to infection. One woman lost her baby in the outbreak.

Patients live in Piedmont, Lombardy, Veneto, Emilia Romagna, Liguria, Umbria, Tuscany, Calabria, Lazio, Puglia, Valle D’Aosta and Abruzzo.

The Ministry of Health created an outbreak working group, which includes the Italian National Institute of Health (Istituto Superiore di Sanità), National Reference Laboratories, and regional agencies that met in August and were made official in September.

There are also sporadic cases in other countries but the major burden is in Italy, where recalls and investigations have been undertaken, said the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

Investigations in Italy previously revealed a connection between patients and the presence of Listeria in sausages made with poultry meat produced by Agricola Tre Valli, after sampling at the plant in Verona. Listeria was also detected during environmental sampling at the factory.

Authorities have identified the same type of Listeria in some patients and the recalled products but have not been able to link all patients to one product.

Positive batches with codes 1785417 and 01810919 plus all items produced before Sept. 12 were recalled. It included the AIA Wudy and Pavo brands with expiration dates through Dec. 5, 2022.

Chicken and turkey sausages with cheese were distributed to 30 countries mostly across Europe including Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

Data from the National Institute of Health shows cases of Listeriosis decreased by more than 27 percent in 2020 compared to 2019, but have been increasing again in the past two years.

An earlier statement from Agricola Tre Valli said the voluntary withdrawal involved some hot dogs with the CE mark IT 04 M but production was continuing.

“The cooperative company has started this procedure in a precautionary way in agreement with the Italian authorities because the incorrect storage of the products and the non-compliance with the instructions on the labeling could make the food not suitable for consumption from a microbiological point of view,” said the company.

“The company also specifies that it has always operated in full compliance with the laws in force. These procedures have been followed also for the batches that are involved in the current withdrawal.”