July 12, 2024

Listeria Causes Three Deadly Multistate Outbreaks in 2014

A Listeria outbreak linked to mung bean sprouts is one of three deadly multistate outbreaks in 2014. And all three of the deadly outbreaks were caused by was Listeria.

Listeria monocytogenes bacteriaA rare and deadly foodborne pathogen, Listeria is often associated with ready-to-eat deli meats, soft cheeses and smoked fish. Of the 1,600 people diagnosed with listeriosis each year, 1,500 require hospitalization and 260 die, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Listeria poses a special risk for children, seniors, pregnant women and others with compromised immune systems. Among pregnant women, listeriosis can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery and birth defects.

“These cases are so sad,” said Fred Pritzker, Food Poisoning Bulletin publisher and food safety attorney who has represented clients in Listeria personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits. “Listeria contamination in food is very dangerous and it is preventable.”

Symptoms of listeriosis, which can take up to two months to develop,  include fever, headache, stiff neck, and muscle aches which are sometimes preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms. Treatment almost always requires hospitalization.

The bean sprout outbreak, which sickened four people in Illinois and one person in Michigan killing two of them, has been linked through whole genome sequencing and pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) to products produced by Wholesome Soy Products Inc. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspected the Wholesome Soy Products facility in August and October and found unsanitary conditions, many of which were present during both inspections.

The other two deadly multistate outbreaks of 2014 were caused by soft cheese. At the end of October, the CDC announced a three-state outbreak linked to Oasis cheeses that killed one person and sickened two others.  The illnesses from cheeses sold under the Lacteos Santa Martha brand were reported from New York, Tennessee, and Texas. The fatality was reported in Tennessee.  And, in March, an outbreak linked to Roos Cheese sickened eight people in Maryland and California, killing one of them.

There were seven other multistate outbreaks reported by the CDC this year which did not have fatalities. Four were caused by Salmonella, two by E.coli and one by cyclospora bacteria.

 

Comments

  1. Christopher Everspark says

    Thank you for the informative article. Hopefully others will be watchful of these foods in order to avoid Listeria.

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