November 29, 2021

Four Sick in Maryland’s Soft Cheese Listeria Monocytogenes Outbreak

Four people are sick in Maryland’s soft cheese Listeria monocytogenes outbreak announced late last week by the FDA and the CDC. That state has the most patients sickened in the current outbreak. The other states involved in this outbreak have one person sick in each.

Four Sick in Maryland's Soft Cheese Listeria Monocytogenes Outbreak


The outbreak is potentially linked to Hispanic-style soft and fresh cheeses, according to information provided by the Centers for Disease Control. An investigation has been launched and officials are collecting samples of cheese from stores where ill persons shopped before they got sick. Of four people who have been interviewed, three said they ate at least one type of Hispanic-style fresh and soft cheese, and al three said they ate queso fresco.

These types of cheeses have a history of being linked to Listeria monocytogenes outbreaks. And sadly, these outbreaks are usually deadly. In each of the listeriosis outbreaks linked to soft cheeses since 2013, at least one patient has died. And most of the patients sickened have been hospitalized. No one has died in this current outbreak.

Because of this history, and because the outbreaks have been so serious and deadly, the government is recommending that everyone avoid eating Hispanic-style soft and fresh cheeses until the investigation has yielded results. Anyone who is at higher risk for serious problems from this type of illness is advised to avoid these cheeses all the time. We don’t know why Maryland’s soft cheese Listeria monocytogenes outbreak has more patients that the other states.

If you or someone you know has eaten these types of cheeses and has been experiencing the symptoms of listeriosis, see your doctor as soon as possible. Symptoms include a high fever, stiff neck, severe headache, muscle aches, nausea, and diarrhea. But pregnant women, who can suffer miscarriage and stillbirth if they contract this infection, may think they have a mild case of the flu.

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