October 20, 2019

New Mexico Caramel Apple Listeria Toll Could Climb

The number of people in New Mexico infected by Listeria from caramel apples could be more than five, a number that only one other state has matched in the ongoing state and federal investigation of a deadly listeriosis outbreak. The New Mexico Department of Health said work is ongoing to identify additional cases in the state. So far, more than one New Mexico baby has been diagnosed with Listeria while other case patients range in age up to 42. “These cases reside in Bernalillo, McKinley, and Lea counties and became ill in October and November,” according to a caramel apple Listeria health alert from the department. “All were hospitalized and are recovering.”

New-Mexico-Listeria-LawyerOf 10 states confirmed by the CDC to be part of this outbreak, only Missouri was reported initially to have as many cases as New Mexico. Three states — Minnesota, Texas and Arizona — have determined four confirmed cases each. Wisconsin has two while North Carolina, California, Utah and Washington each have one case in the initial roundup by the CDC. Listeriosis has contributed to four deaths among known cases in this outbreak, which has included three invasive Listeria meningitis cases. Babies and pregnant women are in a high-risk group for contracting these infections.

New Mexico Department of Health Cabinet Secretary Retta Ward said officials are diligently trying to determine the scope of carmel apple products that are impaired. Brand names of the caramel apples purchased by the New Mexico cases have not been identified, though retail locations where the patients said they had shopped are no longer selling caramel apples. “Until more information is available, anyone in New Mexico who has any type of pre-packaged caramel apple in their home right now should not eat it,” the health cabinet secretary said.

Contact a Listeria Lawyer - Free Case EvaluationAnyone who believes they may have become ill with listeriosis after eating a commercially produced, pre-packaged caramel apple should contact their health care provider. This includes plain caramel apples as well as those containing nuts, sprinkles, chocolate, or other toppings. Symptoms may take up to a month or 70 days to develop and pregnant women may only feel mild flu-like symptoms. Ninety percent of listeriosis patients fall into four groups: Pregnant, newborn, over 65 or immuno-compromised. The disease is rare, but one in five who contract it die. In the current outbreak, 26 of 28 confirmed case patients were hospitalized.

“This investigation is rapidly evolving,” the New Mexico Department of Health said in its news release. “New information will be provided as it becomes available.”

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