June 4, 2023

Listeria in Caramel Apples Leaves 3 Children with Meningitis

Listeria in caramel apples has left three children between the ages of 5 and 15 with Listeria meningitis. This, sometimes fatal, form of meningitis normally develops in infants.

Caramel ApplesAt least 28 people in 10 states have been sickened by caramel apples contaminated with Listeria. Twenty six people have been hospitalized, five people have died. Those most at risk for Listeria infection include children, pregnant women, older adults and those with compromised immune systems.

This outbreak includes all of those groups. Nine of the illnesses were related to pregnancy, the median age of those sickened was 64 and three children developed Listeria meningitis.

Symptoms of Listeria meningitis, which develop between three and 70 days of ingesting contaminated food,  include high fever, headache, and stiff neck. Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, discomfort looking into bright lights, confusion, and sleepiness. Seizures are more common with Listeria meningitis than with other types of bacterial meningitis. Listeria meningitis can be fatal or lead to brain damage and permanent disability.

Early diagnosis and treatment of Listeria meningitis is key. Patients with symptoms should seek medical care immediately. Appropriate treatment can reduce the risk of death. The fatality rate is between 15 and 30 percent.



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