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CDC, public health and regulatory officials in several states, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have launched an investigation into a multistate outbreak Listeria outbreak linked to Peaches, Nectarines, and Plums.
Epidemiologic and laboratory data show that HMC Farms peaches, nectarines, and plums may be contaminated with Listeria and are making people sick.
As of November 17, 11 people infected with the outbreak strain of Listeria have been reported from seven states.
Sick people’s samples were collected from August 22, 2018, to August 16, 2023. Of ten people with information available, all have been hospitalized. One person got sick during their pregnancy and had a preterm labor. One death has been reported from California.
The true number of sick people in this outbreak is likely higher than the number reported, and the outbreak may not be limited to the states with known illnesses. This is because some people recover without medical care and are not tested for Listeria. In addition, recent illnesses may not yet be reported as it usually takes 3 to 4 weeks to determine if a sick person is part of an outbreak.
Public health officials collect many different types of information from sick people or their family, including their age, race, ethnicity, other demographics, and the foods they ate in the month before they got sick. This information provides clues to help investigators identify the source of the outbreak.
Listeriosis, the infection caused by ingesting the foodborne bacteria Listeria monocytogenes, commonly referred to as Listeria. This infection primarily affects higher risk populations such as pregnant women, newborns, older adults, and those with a weakened immune system. While it is rare for those in other groups to become sick with Listeria infection, it does happen. Though they typically recover without medical intervention.
Symptoms associated with Listeria infection vary depending on the person infected and the part of the body affected. In general, symptoms involve typical fever and diarrheal symptoms similar to other foodborne germs, though this type of infection is rarely diagnosed. For those with invasive listeriosis, where the bacteria spreads beyond the gut is more complicated. For example, pregnant women, non-pregnant women, and those with a weakened immune system often have different sets of symptoms.
Listeria infection in women often includes little more than fever and other flu-like symptoms such as muscle aches and fatigue. The larger danger is that Listeria can lead to miscarriage, still birth, premature delivery, or life-threatening infection of the newborn baby.
More severe Listeria infections in non-pregnant women often includes headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions as well as fever and muscle aches.
Adults Over 65 and/or Weakened Immune Systems
Adults over the age of 65 and those with weakened immune systems may develop severe infections where the Listeria monocytogenes bacteria moves outside of the gut and into other parts of the body.
When it reaches the blood stream it can cause sepsis. In the brain it can cause meningitis or encephalitis. Listeria infections can also spread to other parts of the body including bones, joints, and areas of the chest and abdomen.
Listeriosis Diagnosis and Treatment
Listeriosis is generally diagnosed from a bacterial culture. The health care provider requests a bacterial culture panel based on symptoms the patient is presenting. Samples such as body tissue or body fluid such as blood, spinal fluid, or placenta are grown. If the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes grows on the culture plate, the sample is sent to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to be sequenced and added to the foodborne infection database.
Treatment of listeriosis often involves antibiotic treatment. Modes of treatment vary based on the severity of infection. Penicillin, ampicillin, and amoxicillin are often used in the treatment of listeriosis.
What to Do If You Are Affected
It can be a frustrating experience to be affected by food poisoning in a food product-based outbreak. There are a few steps you can take to help navigate yourself through the process.
Seek medical attention and indicate that your illness may be associated with an ongoing outbreak investigation. Your healthcare provider will likely order a test that will indicate if you are infected with the outbreak organism. This sample will be forwarded to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention if it turns out to be the organism of interest. Your healthcare provider will provide you with appropriate treatment options to get you the best options for getting better.
Make a list of the foods and places you have eaten over the past few weeks. Try to be as specific as possible while the details are fresh in your mind. If you have any leftover food items, save them if possible and/or the wrappers so that lot information can be recorded in the event you are interviewed by an investigator. This will assist in traceback investigation efforts. Your actions could mean faster identification of a source and fewer people falling ill from the same product.
Our mission is to help families who have been harmed by contaminated food or water. When corporations cause Listeria food poisoning outbreaks, we use the law to hold them accountable. The Lange Law Firm PLLC is one of the only law firms in the nation focused on representing families in food poisoning lawsuits. This is what we do.
If you were diagnosed with Listeria after eating fruit in this Listeria Outbreak Linked to Peaches, Nectarines, and Plums and want to make a legal claim for compensation, we can help. Our Listeria lawyer can help you pursue compensation for your Listeria food poisoning. Call us for a free no obligation legal consultation at (833) 330-3663 or send us an e-mail here.