4 Popular Fruits Pose Urgent Risk After Listeria Outbreak Hospitalizes 10 and Claims One Life
The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a warning about a listeria outbreak that has resulted in one fatality and 10 hospitalizations due to the consumption of contaminated fruit.
The outbreak has affected seven states and is expected to spread as more cases emerge.
An investigation revealed that fruit contaminated with listeria was sold nationwide from May 2022 to November 2022, as well as from May 2023 to November 2023 by HMC Farms, a California-based farm that grows peaches, nectarines, plums, and grapes.
The CDC has advised Americans to discard any potentially contaminated products and to check their freezers for any frozen fruit. They are also urged to clean their freezers to prevent contamination.
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Listeria is a bacteria that causes listeriosis, leading to symptoms such as headaches, stiffness, and diarrhea in healthy adults.
Symptoms typically appear within two weeks of infection, but can occur on the same day or up to 10 weeks later.
20% of people infected with listeria die from the illness. Pregnant women and individuals over 65 are at higher risk of severe symptoms due to weakened immune systems. One pregnant individual experienced early labor due to the illness.
The CDC was able to identify the listeria contamination by interviewing patients about their food consumption prior to falling ill and testing samples from each patient, which were found to be a close genetic match to listeria.
The source of the bacteria on the fruits in this specific case is unclear, but past outbreaks have been linked to watering crops with contaminated animal feces and equipment used for packaging becoming contaminated with listeria.
Most patients affected by the outbreak were white men with an average age of 69, and three-quarters of them were over 65. The CDC warns that the actual number of patients is likely higher due to some individuals not seeking medical care or being tested for listeria.
HMC Farms is currently recalling peaches, plums, and nectarines sold during the affected time periods, even though they are no longer on store shelves, as some people may still have these fruits in their homes.