Listeria outbreak linked to cheese; 1 dead, 4 sickened

Posted at 8:50 AM, Jul 04, 2013

By Melissa Gray

(CNN) — A listeria outbreak linked to cheese might have killed one person and sickened four others in four states, the Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday. One of the cases was a pregnant woman who suffered a miscarriage.

The listeriosis is linked to Les Freres cheese distributed by Crave Brothers Farmstead Classics, a Wisconsin producer, the FDA said.

All of those sickened were infected with the same strain of listeriosis, the FDA said.

Two cases were in Minnesota, both involving older adults who were hospitalized after eating the cheese, the Minnesota Health and Agriculture departments said. One later died. The other states involved are Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is testing samples of the cheese and early results indicate the presence of listeria, though confirmation is pending.

Minnesota health officials are warning consumers not to consume the Les Freres, Petit Frere and Petit Frere with Truffles cheeses. The state’s Department of Agriculture has advised grocery stores and distributors to pull the products until it gets further information.

The people who became ill ranged in age from 31 to 67 and were diagnosed between May 20 and June 17, the FDA said.

One case in a pregnant woman resulted in a miscarriage, the FDA said.

Listeriosis is a serious infection usually caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The disease primarily affects older adults, pregnant women, newborns and adults with weakened immune systems.

A person with listeriosis usually has fever and muscle aches, sometimes preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms, the CDC says. They might also have headaches, a stuff neck, confusion, loss of balance or convulsions.

Pregnant women typically experience fever and other nonspecific symptoms, such as fatigue and aches, but infections during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature deliver, or life-threatening infection of the newborn.

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