Listeria outbreak linked to cheese; 1 dead, 4 sickened

-- 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 stiff 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.