July 23, 2021

El Abuelito Cheese Listeria Outbreak Ends With 13 Sick, 1 Death

The El Abuelito cheese Listeria monocytogenes outbreak has ended with 13 people sick, 12 hospitalized, and one death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The patients live in four states on the east coast. The case count by state is Connecticut (1), Maryland (5), New York (4), and Virginia (3). Illness onset dates range from October 20, 2020 to March 17, 2021. Twelve of the illnesses occurred in 2021. The patient age range is from less than 1 to 75 years. Twelve of the patients were Hispanic. One death was reported from Maryland. Four people got sick during their pregnancy, resulting in two pregnancy losses and one premature birth; the fourth person remained pregnant after recovering. State and local public health officials interviewed the patients … [Read more...]

CDC Updates Hispanic Style Cheese Listeria Outbreak Investigation

The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated their Hispanic style cheese Listeria outbreak investigation with new information from the Connecticut Department of Health. On February 16, 2021, Connecticut officials found Listeria in samples of El Albuelito queso fresco cheese that was collected from a store where a patient diagnosed with listeriosis shopped. Investigators are working to confirmed that the Listeria bacteria found in this queso fresco cheese is the same pathogen that is making people sick. They are using whole genome sequencing (WGS) that maps the DNA of the bacteria. The results should be known soon. The case count still stands at seven sick. Those people live in Maryland (4), Connecticut (1), New York (1), and Virginia (1). All seven patients … [Read more...]

Unsanitary Conditions of Soft Cheese Making Linked to Listeria Outbreaks

In the wake of the deadly Listeria monocytogenes outbreak that is linked to Hispanic-style fresh and soft cheeses, it's worth looking at a 2018 study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that examined listeriosis outbreaks associated with soft cheeses from 1998 to 2014. The study, published in Emerging Infectious Diseases, showed that unsanitary conditions of soft cheese making was linked to listeriosis outbreaks. The number of listeriosis outbreaks associated with cheese produced under unsanitary conditions has increased since 2006. Moreover, two-thirds of those outbreaks were linked to "Latin-style soft cheese," accounting for 98, or 54%, of the cases of listeriosis during that time frame. FDA inspections of cheese-making facilities associated with outbreaks … [Read more...]

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.   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 … [Read more...]

History of Soft Cheese Linked Listeria Monocytogenes Outbreaks

With the news that the CDC and FDA have launched an investigation into a possible Hispanic-style soft cheese listeriosis outbreak late last week, the history of soft cheese linked Listeria monocytogenes outbreaks comes into focus. Seven people in four states are sick, including Maryland, Connecticut, New York, and Virginia. This is not the first time a deadly outbreak has been linked to those types of soft and fresh cheeses. These types of cheeses have long been a risk for Listeria monocytogenes contamination, according to the CDC. The issue is that many of these soft and fresh cheeses are made with unpasteurized milk. The government estimates that "the risk for listeriosis per serving is estimated to be 50- to 160-fold greater for cheese made from unpasteurized milk than … [Read more...]

New Listeria Outbreak Associated With Hispanic-Style Fresh Soft Cheeses

A new Listeria outbreak has been announced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Hispanic-style fresh and soft cheeses have allegedly sickened seven people in four states as of February 11, 2021. No recall has been issued yet. The patient case count by state is: Connecticut (1), Maryland (4), New York (1), and Virginia (1). All seven patients have been hospitalized because they are so sick. No one has died. Illness onset dates range from October 20, 2020 to January 22, 2021. Six of those sickened got sick in 2021. The patient age range is from 45 to 75 years. Six of those sickened are of Hispanic origin. State and local public health officials are interviewing people about what they ate during the month before they started feeling sick. Of the four people who … [Read more...]

Which Foods May Be Contaminated With Listeria Monocytogenes Bacteria?

Which foods may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes bacteria? Outbreaks of listeriosis, the illness caused by this pathogen, that have been linked to these kinds of foods go back to 1985. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have put together a list of foods that people in high risk groups should avoid. While any food can be contaminated with this pathogen, the foods that are most likely to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes include deli meats, hot dogs, dairy products such as soft cheese, raw milk, and ice cream, and produce such as celery, sprouts, and cantaloupe. People who are at high risk for serious complications from a Listeria monocytogenes food poisoning infection should think about avoiding these foods unless they are cooked to 165°F. Those at … [Read more...]

Safer Food Choices For People At Risk For Food Poisoning Complications

People who are at risk for serious compilations from food poisoning need to be careful about the food they buy and how it is prepared, as well as staying vigilant about food recalls and food outbreak notices. But there are other ways to protect yourself if you fall into a high risk category for food poisoning. There are safer food choices to make at the grocery store. For instance, at the deli, avoid purchasing cold smoked fish or products that contain cold smoked fish. In addition, do not choose sashimi, sushi, or ceviche, since those products use raw or undercooked fish or shellfish. Instead, choose canned fish or seafood, and seafood that has been cooked to a minimum final internal temperature of 145°F. Do not buy unpasteurized (raw) milk, unpasteurized fruit juices, or raw … [Read more...]

Did You Have a Listeria Infection in the Last Five Years?

A strange outbreak was announced this month by the FDA and CDC. At least 22 people were sick with five rare and very similar strains of Listeria monocytogenes; 22 of them were hospitalized. That's not uncommon, but here's the weird part: those illnesses began in 2010. Government officials investigated, and found that 83% of those patients reported eating soft cheeses in the month before they got sick. Further investigation found that four of seven ill people specified a brand of soft cheese distributed by Karoun Dairies of San Fernando, California. Whole genome sequencing (WGS) analysis of two environmental samples collected by the FDA showed Listeria monocytogenes bacteria that is "highly related" to the outbreak strains found in sick people. Those samples were collected at Central … [Read more...]

Queseria Bendita Cheese Listeria Outbreak Highlights Past Recalls

The current outbreak of listeriosis linked to recalled Queseria Bendita soft cheeses is a reminder that these types of foods have often been recalled for Listeria monocytogenes contamination in the past. In the current outbreak, three people in Washington state have been sickened and one person has died. Over the past three years, there have been at least 25 recalls of soft cheese for Listeria monocytogenes in the U.S. and 9 recalls in Canada for the same reason. And there have been recalls of hard cheeses for Listeria too. Cheese is particularly vulnerable to Listeria contamination for a few reasons. Any cheese, whether hard or soft, made with raw or unpasteurized milk has a much higher risk of contamination, since Listeria bacteria are present in the farm environment. In fact, … [Read more...]

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