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Raspberry dessert 'kills' Swedish pensioners

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Raspberry dessert 'kills' Swedish pensioners
Not the raspberry dessert in question. Photo:TT
15:27 CEST+02:00
Two Swedes from a nursing home in Ljungby in southern Sweden have died after a raspberry dessert apparently caused an outbreak of food poisoning affecting more than 60 pensioners.
Dozens of people at the elderly care home became sick over the weekend, after eating a dessert which contained frozen raspberries.
 
It is suspected that the fruits became contaminated during the packing process, when boxes of the red berries were hand-packed by a worker who was carrying a winter vomiting bug virus.
 
Two pensioners were taken to hospital where they later died and another patient who was admitted was still recieving treatment on Monday afternoon. Up to ten staff members were also understood to have become ill, with extra workers called in to help provide cover.
 
According to Carina Karlund, a spokesperson for Ljungby municipality, tests are still being carried out to determine the exact cause of the deaths. But she confirmed to the TT news agency that there had been a food poisoning outbreak and said that many of the home's frail residents were susceptible to picking up viruses and infections as a result of existing weak health.
 
"It is very unfortunate when they get upset stomachs since it takes an extra toll on them," she said.
 
"Vomiting and diarrhoea in older people who already have multiple illnesses can affect their health a lot," Rosa Morales, head nurse in Ljungby added.
 
"We dealt with it from the beginning as if it was winter vomiting disease, but we still do not know for sure if it is," she told TT.
 
Brunnsgårdens, the catering company which supplied the raspberries is continuing to be used by the care home, but ingredients delivered in recent days are being excluded from dishes.
 
Pensioners who have so far avoided falling sick have been urged to stay inside their rooms to avoid being infected. 
 
The municipality's infection control unit was carrying out further tests on the raspberries on Monday.
 
Sweden's national food agency (Livmedelsverket) advised people concerned about being infected by any other potential batches of frozen berries to boil them before including them in recipes, to help kill any viruses they might be carrying.
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