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Listeria: Enid Heap and Beverley Sowah named as deaths linked to outbreak | UK News

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Two women whose deaths have been linked to an outbreak of listeria at hospitals across the UK have been named.

Enid Heap, 84, died with her family at her bedside on 6 May, having been admitted to Manchester Royal Infirmary with breathing difficulties back in March.

At the opening of an inquest into her death in the city on Friday, senior coroner Nigel Meadows said there was a “linked death” to that of Mrs Heap – retired nurse Beverley Sowah.

The 57-year-old, who like Mrs Heap lived in Manchester, was admitted to the same hospital on 15 April.

Mrs Sowah, born in Jamaica, died on 26 April, just a day after samples had been taken from her for analysis as part of her ongoing treatment.

Solicitors for the hospital trust, Sodexo Health Care and Northern County Meats, were present at the hearing, but no other details about the deaths were shared.

Mrs Heap and Mrs Sowah are two of five people suspected to have died as a result of the listeria outbreak, which emerged from people eating pre-packed sandwiches and salads linked to The Good Food Chain.

It prompted Health Secretary Matt Hancock to order a “root and branch” review of NHS food and the affected products have since been withdrawn from hospitals, with Public Health England (PHE) saying that evidence indicated all the deaths had occurred before the items were removed from circulation on 25 May.

Mr Hancock warned there will be “severe consequences” if there is evidence of “wrongdoing” over the outbreak, which has seen The Good Food Chain – a supplier to 43 NHS trusts across the UK – voluntarily cease production.

The business was supplied with meat produced by North Country Cooked Meats, which has since tested positive for the strain of listeria involved in the outbreak. That company has also stopped production.

Britain's International Development Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities Penny Mordaunt (L) and Britain's Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock take part in a meeting of a conservative research group in Westminster hall in London on April 9, 2019. (Photo by Tolga AKMEN / AFP) (Photo credit should read TOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty Images)
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Health Secretary Matt Hancock has ordered a review of NHS food

Listeria infection is rare and usually causes mild illness in healthy people.

However, it can have more serious consequences among those with pre-existing medical conditions, pregnant women and those with a weak immune system.

PHE said evidence suggested all those who died ate the products before the withdrawal took place on 25 May.

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