December 10, 2022

New Listeria Outbreak Linked to Enoki Mushrooms Sickens Two

A new Listeria outbreak linked to enoki mushrooms has been announced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). At least two people in two states are sick.

New Listeria Outbreak Linked to Enoki Mushrooms Sickens Two

The case count by state is: Michigan (1) and Nevada (1). The patient age range is from 30 to 42. Illness onset dates range from October 5, 2022 to October 8, 2022. Both patients have been hospitalized. And both reported eating enoki mushrooms or eating at restaurants that served items containing enoki mushrooms before they got sick.

Whole genome sequencing conducted on patient isolates showed that they likely both got sick from eating the same product, since they are closely related genetically. And in November 2021, the FDA found Listeria monocytogenes in one sample of enoki mushrooms that were collected at import, as part of that agency’s strategy to prevent Listeria outbreaks linked from imported enoki mushrooms. The country the mushrooms came from was not identified in the outbreak notice.

While those mushrooms were destroyed, the Listeria from those mushrooms is closely related genetically to the bacteria that made people in this outbreak sick. But the firm associated with this sample has not been identified as a potential source of enoki mushrooms in this outbreak. Investigators are trying to identify specific brands that may be linked to this outbreak.

The last Listeria outbreak linked to enoki mushrooms was in 2020. In that deadly outbreak, at least 36 people in 17 states were sickened. Thirty-one people were hospitalized, and four people died. In addition, there were six pregnancy-related illnesses and two fetal losses.

As a result of that outbreak, earlier this year the FDA launched a new initiative to prevent contaminated enoki and wood ear mushrooms from being imported into the United States. Import alerts have been issued as a result of this initiative, and one country-wide alert was issued for enoki mushrooms from the Republic of Korea in July 2022 after testing revealed that in fiscal year 2021, 43% of those mushrooms from that country were contaminated with Listeria.

The CDC is offering lots of advice about enoki mushrooms. First, they say that anyone in a high risk group for serious complications from listeriosis should avoid raw enoki mushrooms altogether. That means if you are pregnant, over the age of 65, or have a weakened immune system, consider not buying them.

Even if you are not in one of those populations, do not eat raw enoki mushrooms or use them as garnishes on food. Cook these mushrooms thoroughly. Raw enoki mushrooms should be kept separate from foods that are eaten uncooked. Wash your hands after handling raw enoki mushrooms, and clean your refrigerator, containers, and surfaces that have touched those types of mushrooms.

Symptoms of listeriosis can take up to 70 days to appear. This long incubation period can cause confusion over what foods caused this illness. People with this infection usually experience headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, fever, and muscle aches that may be preceded by nausea and diarrhea. Pregnant people often only have a mild illness that seems like the flu, but this infection can cause miscarriage and stillbirth.

If you have eaten enoki mushrooms and have been ill with these symptoms, see your doctor. You may be part of this Listeria outbreak linked to enoki mushrooms.

Attorneys at the Pritzker Hageman Food Safety Law Firm

If you have been diagnosed with a Cyclospora infection from contaminated food, please contact our experienced attorneys for help with a possible lawsuit at 1-888-377-8900 or text us at 612-261-0856. Our firm represents clients in lawsuits against grocery stores, restaurants, and food processors.

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