The state of New York has been hard hit in the Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to recalled Dole salad mixes. Four people in that state are sick. At least eighteen people in nine states have been infected with the outbreak strain of Listeria. Whole genome sequencing has been performed on samples from all of these people and the bacteria that sickened them are “highly related” genetically.
All eighteen people sickened in this particular outbreak have been hospitalized. One person has died “as a result of listeriosis” according to the CDC. That person lived in Michigan. The most recent illness was diagnosed on January 31, 2016, so it the outbreak numbers may grow.
The brand names of the salad mixes include Dole, Fresh Selections, Simple Truth, Marketside, The Little Salad Bar, and President’s Choice Organics. The types of salad mixes recalled include American salads, arugula salads, Bacon and bleu cheese salads, BBQ Ranch salad, Caesar salads, Chipotle and cheddar salads, Coleslaw mix, Field green salads, Garden salads, Iceberg salads, Italian blend salads, Kale salads, Lettuce salads, Mediterranean salads, Romaine salads, Sesame ginger salads, Southwest salads, Spinach Salads, Spring Mix salads, Sunflower salads, and Vegetable blend salads.
We would list the states where the recalled salads were sold, but we have received reports about them being sold in states not listed on the CDC web site, so just look for the letter “A” at the beginning of the code near the “Enjoy By” date. If you have one of these salads in your fridge, throw it away, wash your hands, then clean out your fridge with a mild bleach solution.
The recalled salads should all have expired by now, so they should no longer be in consumers’ homes. And Dole halted production at their Springfield, Ohio plant that is the center of this outbreak investigation in mid January. The recalled salad mixes all have number codes that start with the letter “A”.
If you have eaten one of the recalled salads and have experienced the symptoms of listeriosis, the illness caused by this bacteria, see your doctor. It’s worth noting that while most people get sick within a few weeks of exposure to the pathogenic bacteria, sometimes the illness can be delayed up to 70 days. If you ate one of these salads in January, for instance, be aware of any illness development until late March. This outbreak actually began back in July 2015, but was not discovered until January 2016.
People who are at higher risk for listeriosis include older adults, children, people with weakened immune systems, those with chronic illnesses, and pregnant women, although even healthy people can become sick. The symptoms of listeriosis include fever, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion, and loss of balance. Pregnant women usually only experience fever or non-specific symptoms such as headache and chills, but listeriosis can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, premature labor, and a serious infection in the newborn.