March 22, 2018

Wholesome Soy Listeria Outbreak Ends With 5 Sick, 2 Dead

The Wholesome Soy Listeria outbreak has ended after sickening five people in Michigan and Illinois, killing two of them. The Chicago-based company is longer producing  sprouts, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s final report on the outbreak, issued today. Calls to the company were not answered.

Alfalfa Sprouts in BowlHealth officials used whole genome sequencing (WGS) and pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) to link sprouts produced by Wholesome Soy to four cases of listeriosis in Illinois and one case in Michigan. All five case patients in this outbreak were hospitalized. During interviews, two of the surviving patients reported eating bean sprouts before they became ill.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspected the Wholesome Soy Products Chicago facility in August and October and found unsanitary conditions, many of which were present during both inspections.

Listeria poses a special risk for children, seniors, pregnant women and others with compromised immune systems. The CDC recommends that these groups never eat raw sprouts. Among pregnant women, listeriosis can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery and newborns with listeriosis.

Symptoms of listeriosis can take up to 70 days after exposure to develop and include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, headache, stiff neck and muscle aches. Treatment almost always requires hospitalization.


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