Listeria Outbreak On The Rise; Ice Cream Company Withdraws Products Due to Contamination

Since an outbreak of listeriosis in the previous months proved to be fatal for a few people who had ingested prepackaged caramelized apples, the Washington State Department of Health decided to intervene, when two men from Washington state area were hospitalized and confirmed to be infected with the organism Listeria monocytogenes.

Both men lived in King Country and are currently in the fifth decade of life and both of them also have other underlying diseases. They are currently recovering from the illness. Since they both had the same strain of the organism in their system, it led the officials of the Washington State Department of Health to the source.

The source proved to be an ice cream company which when analyzed for possible contamination turned up positive. Moreover the samples acquired from the production line area were also contaminated with the same strain of bacteria.

Department spokesman Donn Moyer said, “[the patients] were ill, the disease investigation started, they started noticing some similarities, and traced it back to this product.”

The ice cream company Snoqualmie Gourmet Ice Cream produces a variety of products like ice cream, gelato, custard and sorbet and supplies in 5 states, mainly, Arizona, Idaho, California, Washington and Oregon. However, authorities also suspect that the company may have supplied in the region of Alaska, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.

Each year an estimated 1,600 people die of listeriosis and around 260 of these die as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). So the health officials are asking people to focus more on preventive measures.

Although the company has recalled all of their products from the market which were issued from the 1st of January 2014 till 15th of December 2014, authorities are asking people to discard items which people have bought. They are also encouraging people to return the products on which they will be refunded. They hope that these guidelines would help prevent future infections and prevent a possible outbreak.

The company is currently looking into this matter and is working alongside FDA and WSDA to work out the cause and source of this contamination.


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