October 19, 2017

Missouri Becomes a Noted Site of Caramel Apple Listeria Outbreak

Five Missourians have been confirmed as victims of a closely watched Listeria outbreak that state and national health officials have associated with pre-packaged, commercially produced caramel apples. As a leading site for the outbreak — only one other state has had as many cases — the Missouri Department of Health and Human Services is trying to trace where the tainted caramel apples were purchased. Ryan Hobart, a spokesman for the department, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that all of the Missouri Listeria cases were in the eastern or northeastern portion of the state.

Hobart also said one of the state’s case patients died, but that the cause of death was not Listeria poisoning. Among the 28 people in 10 states confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as victims of the caramel apple outbreak, five died and at least 26 were hospitalized. Meanwhile, only one of the five Missouri cases was located in St. Louis County and it was not the fatal case, county officials have said.

Missouri, New Mexico, Minnesota, Texas, Arizona and Wisconsin have all reported multiple cases of listeriosis associated with the caramel apple outbreak, which started in October and continued through November. Disease trackers expect to find out soon if more people were sickened in early December. With Listeria, it can take up to 70 days for a person who is exposed to the bacteria to exhibit symptoms of infection. Pregnant women, their babies, older adults and people who have weakened immune system comprise 90 percent of all foodborne listeriosis cases. Statistics from the CDC show that a third of the case patients in the caramel apple outbreak are babies or expecting mothers.Contact a Listeria Lawyer

The lastest consumer guidance from the CDC is for people not to eat any commercially produced caramel apples, including plain caramel apples as well as those containing nuts, sprinkles, chocolate, or other toppings, until more specific guidance can be provided. If you or a loved one is showing symptoms of Listeria poisoning after eating a pre-packaged, store-purchased caramel apple, immediately contact your health care provider for testing and treatment. Listeriosis can be treated with antibiotics.

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