April 6, 2020

History of Listeria Outbreaks Sickening Pregnant Women

The Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to imported Enoki mushrooms that was just announced has sickened six pregnant women; two of them suffered fetal loss. This is not the first time this has happened; pregnant women are at high risk for serious complications from this infection. Here's a brief history of Listeria outbreaks sickening pregnant women since 2012. In 2012, a Listeria outbreak linked to Frescolina Marte brand ricotta salata sickened 22 people in 13 states; 20 people were hospitalized and four died; two of these deaths were related to listeriosis. Nine of these illnesses were related to a pregnancy; three newborns were diagnosed with listeriosis. One fetal loss was reported. The listeriosis outbreak linked to Jensen Farms cantaloupe sickened 147 people. Seven … [Read more...]

Enoki Listeria Outbreak Sickens Pregnant Women, 30 Others

The Sun Hong Foods Enoki Listeria outbreak sickens pregnant women and 30 others in 17 states according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Four people died. Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicates that enoki mushrooms labeled "Product of Korea"are the likely source of this Listeria monocytogenes outbreak. The patient case count by state is: Arizona (2), California (9), Florida (2), Hawaii (3), Indiana (1), Kentucky (1), Maryland (2), Massachusetts (2), Michigan (1), Missouri (1), Nevada (1), New Jersey (1),  New York (4), North Carolina (1), Rhode Island (1), Tennessee (1), and Virginia (3). Illness onset dates range from November 23, 2016 to December 3, 2019. The patient age range is from less than 1 to 97. Of 32 people who gave information to the … [Read more...]

How Do You Know if You Have a Listeria Monocytogenes Infection?

Listeria monocytogenes is a foodborne pathogen that can make you seriously ill. Listeria monocytogenes infections are tricky, because the symptoms may not show up until 70 days after a person has been exposed. And the symptoms of this infection are similar to the flu, especially in pregnant women, so diagnosis can be difficult. About 1,600 people contract Listeria infections every year in the United States. About 260 of those patients die. Listeriosis is a reportable illness. That means when a person is diagnosed with a Listeria monocytogenes infection, their doctors must report it to the government. The genetic information about the pathogen that made that person sick is recorded in PulseNet, a nationwide network of laboratories that keep information about pathogens. In fact, … [Read more...]

Blue Bell Lawsuit Refers to Via Christi Hospital Outbreak

The nation's first Blue Bell ice cream Listeria lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Texas includes details of similarity between a retirement home director in Houston who nearly died of Listeria meningitis and a cluster of five people in Wichita who were striken by listeriosis after eating Blue Bell ice cream while at Via Christi Hospital. All six individuals ate single-serve ice cream products purchased from Blue Bell Creameries Inc. through institutional, or food service, channels. According to a copy of the lawsuit filed by Pritzker Hageman attorneys on behalf of David Philip Shockley, he repeatedly ate single-serve Blue Bell ice cream products while on the job at a 462-apartment continuing care retirement community in Houston. The 31-year-old man with a masters degree in public … [Read more...]

What Scientists Say about Listeria and Pregnancy

Bidart Bros. Listeria caramel apple outbreak was a grim reminder about the special threat listeriosis poses to expecting mothers and their babies. As analyzed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),  eleven of the 35 illnesses attributed to the outbreak were pregnancy-related, with one case resulting in a fetal loss. One of the expecting mothers passed the Listeria bacteria to her fetus and the baby was born with an infection that required a month of  treatment in the neo-natal intensive care unit of Lovelace Hospital in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Dr. Vanitha Janakiraman, writing in Obstetrics and Gynecology, provided in-depth information about the relationship between Listeria food poisoning and pregnancy. Infection from the pathogen is rare, but 20 more times common in … [Read more...]

Oklahoma Inspectors Liked Blue Bell Plant Just Before Finding Listeria

Dairy Services inspectors for the state of Oklahoma liked what they saw at the Blue Bell Ice Cream plant in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, just weeks before the company shut down production there and expanded recalls related to an ice cream Listeria outbreak. "Great job," "Keep it up!" and "No violations observed!" were among the remarks written into the report from a March 18 food safety review at the plant, according to an inspection document obtained by The Associated Press under the Freedom of Information Act. A few days earlier, federal health officials had linked Blue Bell ice cream made in Texas to an outbreak of listeriosis that killed three people in Wichita, Kansas. Then, on March 22, Kansas officials informed Blue Bell that they found Listeria monocytogenes in a Blue Bell 3-ounce … [Read more...]

Hospital Listeriosis Outbreaks Deadly and Difficult to Detect

Hospital listeriosis outbreaks, such as the one in Kansas linked to Blue Bell ice cream, can be difficult to detect and especially dangerous because 90 percent of Listeria-related illnesses fall on expecting mothers, infants, seniors and others who are immuno-suppressed. In 2010, a determined group of epidemiologists at the Texas State Department of Health Services launched an investigation into a puzzling outbreak that killed five hospital patients over a period of seven months at various hospitals in the central portion of the state. The team wrote about their work in the Oxford Journal of Clinical Infectious Diseases, raising questions about why hospitals don't do more to protect vulnerable patients from food poisoning. The same agency recently helped to confirm that Blue Bell ice … [Read more...]

Lab Work Solidified Kansas Listeria Link to Blue Bell Ice Cream

The food poisoning laboratory that solidified the link between Blue Bell ice cream and a Listeria outbreak among Kansas hospital patients in Wichita is a deeply experienced unit with notable success in protecting public health, according to archives at the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS). The tragic Kansas Listeria outbreak killed three of five patients at Via Christi St. Francis Hospital who drank milkshakes made from a now-recalled Blue Bell ice cream product, "Scoops." Public alerts may have saved others from a similar fate, but officials are concerned that some recalled Blue Bell ice cream items may still be in the home freezers of people unaware of the outbreak. Bulk ice cream sold in half-gallons, pints, quarts and 3 gallons is not part of the Blue Bell … [Read more...]

Listeria Deaths in Caramel Apple Outbreak Raise Total for Year

One Listeria death for every five cases of listeriosis is the average mortality rate for Listeria food poisoning cases tracked in the United States by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is an average that fit the caramel apple Listeria outbreak with the same tragic consequences that health experts saw in other outbreaks of listeriosis in 2014. The seven case patients who died with listeriosis after eating pre-packaged, commercially produced caramel apples  lifted last year's Listeria death total in the U.S. to 13, from four outbreaks. State and federal agencies have associated the caramel apple outbreak with fruit supplied by California-based Bidart Brothers Inc. In all, 13 of 50 Listeria outbreak case patients died and one fetal loss was suffered. Not every … [Read more...]

Caramel Apple Listeria Lawsuit Filed on Behalf of Minnesota Man

A lawsuit was filed on behalf of a Minnesota man who allegedly contracted a Listeria infection, listeriosis, from contaminated caramel apples he purchased at a Cottage Grove, Minnesota, Cub Foods store. The complaint, filed in Fourth Judicial District Court in Hennepin County, names Bidart Bros. Inc. and Supervalu Inc. as defendants (Spear v. Bidart Bros. Inc., Supervalu Inc., Cub Foods, Case No. 27-CV-15-4555). The Minnesota man is one of thirty-five confirmed listeriosis cases in an outbreak linked to caramel apples made with Bidart Bros. apples and sold under the brand names Carnival, Happy Apples, and Merb’s Candies. People from 12 states were sickened: they live in Arizona, California, Colorado, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Texas, Utah, Washington, and … [Read more...]

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