April 22, 2018

Listeria Outbreak Ends After Striking 22, Killing 4

A food poisoning outbreak linked to cheese tainted with the pathogen Listeria monocytogenes has ended after sickening a total 22 people in 13 states and the District of Columbia and killing four, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The cheese, Frescolina Marte brand ricotta salata, was imported from Italy and distributed by Forever Cheese, Inc.

Listeria monocytogenes is a rare and dangerous bacteria, especially to pregnant women. It has and 80 percent hospital rate and 20 percent fatality rate. Symptoms include headache, fever and muscle stiffness which are sometimes accompanied by gastrointestinal symptoms. Although pregnant women may only experience mild, flu-like symptoms, it can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth and birth defects. In this outbreak, nine of the illnesses were related to a pregnancy; three of these were diagnosed in newborns. One fetal loss also was reported.

Most of the victims reported purchasing the cheese from grocery stores that had cut and repackaged the cheese, including Whole Foods. The U.S.Food and Drug Administration has placed the exporter of the recalled cheese, Fattorie Chiarappa S.R.L.of Conversano, Italy, on Import Alert, meaning the cheese will be denied admission into the United States unless the importer shows that the cheese product is not contaminated with Listeria.

 

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