April 22, 2018

Minnesota Resident Dies in Crave Brothers Cheese Listeria Outbreak

The Minnesota Department of Health has released information about the multistate Listeria outbreak linked to recalled Crave Brothers soft cheeses. Two people in Minnesota have been sickened in this outbreak. Both were older adults who became ill in early June; one of them has died.

Various types of cheeseThree other people, one each in Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio have also contracted listeriosis in this outbreak and have been hospitalized because of the seriousness of their infections.

Most listeriosis cases occur in those in high risk groups: the elderly, the very young, those with compromised immune systems and chronic diseases, and pregnant women. Many people who are sick with this infection need to be hospitalized because it can be life-threatening, and about 20% of those with listeriosis die. The CDC released its Vital Signs report on Listeria last month; in it, they state that invasive listeriosis can lead to meningitis, bacteremia, fetal loss, and death. And no progress has been made in reducing the overall incidence of listeriosis in the last ten years.

Last year, a Listeria outbreak that was linked to imported Frescolina ricotta salata sickened 22 people in 13 states and the District of Columbia and killed four, including one person in Minnesota. Cross-contamination through cutting and slicing the cheese was suspected as a factor in that outbreak. In fact, the government advises that those in high risk groups avoid deli meats and foods such as cold cuts, refrigerated pates, soft cheeses, smoked seafood, and hot dogs because of the risk of cross-contamination.

The outbreak is ongoing and more cases may be diagnosed. If you ate any of the recalled Crave Brothers cheese, including Les Frères, Petit Frère, or Petit Frère with Truffles, monitor yourself for the symptoms of Listeria, which include stiff neck, fever, confusion, weakness, and vomiting, for two months. The symptoms may not appear for 70 days after exposure. If you ate deli foods purchased at any of the stores that stocked the cheeses and become ill, see your doctor immediately.

The FDA is also investigating this outbreak and have advised those who purchased the cheese to discard the product and thoroughly clean their kitchens using a mild bleach solution. Listeria bacteria can grow and thrive at refrigerator temperatures, which is one reason the bacteria is so dangerous.

Attorney Fred Pritzker and his Bad Bug Law Team have won lawsuits against cheese processors, retailers, restaurants and distributors.

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