Deadly Listeria Outbreak: Cheese is the Cause

Eight U.S. citizens have been infected with a deadly infection of Listeria, according to a statement released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday.

The outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes, has already infected a total of eight people from two states. One person, from California, has already died from the infection. The seven other cases, all in Maryland, are being treated. Worse, three of the reported victims of infection are infants, two were infected along with their mothers.

As of Friday, all eight Listeria cases have been connected to consumption of cheese products manufactured by Roos Foods, of Kenton Delaware. Listeria is a potentially fatal bacterial infection causes by consuming foods such as cheese and cantaloupe that have been contaminated with bacteria called Listeria monocytogenes. Infections have been known to cause extreme  fevers, which can be deadly if not treated. The elderly and the pregnant are considered most at risk of succumbing to an infection, according to the CDC.

After investigating this most recent outbreak, the CDC is warning consumers not to eat any cheeses manufactured by Roos Foods, including Santa Rosa de Lima, Amigo, Mexicana, Suyapa, La Chapina, and La Purisima Crema Nica. Because the bacteria best grows at room to refrigerator temperatures, the longer a contaminated food sits in the fridge, the more likely an infection will be after consumption. Retailers, suppliers, and restaurants have also been advised to dispose of the cheese products listed above and sanitize any surfaces where they had been stored.

This is the second Listeria outbreak the CDC has seen in the last five years. An outbreak of the bacteria strain in cantaloupe back in 2011 killed 29 people and one unborn child in a little under 90 days, making it the deadliest food born disease seen in the U.S. in almost a century. According to the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration, those number would have been at least doubled had it not been for the rapid response from health officials, reacting and coordinating to fight the disease in a record-breaking ten days.

This most recent outbreak was not nearly as bad, but the ongoing investigation is still looking into whether there were any other unreported cases or sources of the bacteria.

Information on the outbreak was released by the CDC on February 21.

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