Did dodgy bacon kill elderly?

Athens’s top prosecutor yesterday called for an investigation to determine whether the deaths of five residents of an old peoples’ home in Kypseli had been linked to an outbreak of gastroenteritis. Tests on a sample of bacon believed to have turned the stomachs of 25 residents and 30 workers on May 26 revealed the bacterium listeria, Deputy Health Minister Giorgos Constantopoulos revealed. But he said that the deaths between May 26 and June 10 of the five women, aged 81 to 94, could not be attributed to listeria, with the possible exception of a 91-year-old stroke victim. Listeria does not cause gastroenteritis but it can provoke strokes in the elderly and frail, according to the director of the Hellenic Center for Infectious Diseases, Angelos Hadzakis. Constantopoulos asked the Hellenic Food Authority to conduct checks on the firm which supplied the bacon and to confiscate infected goods. But he refused to identify the supplier as tests got under way to determine whether the production or the storage of the meat had been to blame.

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