As of November 17, 11 people infected with the outbreak strain of Listeria have been reported from seven states – California, Colorado, Kansas, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and Florida (see map). 

Sick people’s samples were collected from August 22, 2018, to August 16, 2023 (see timeline). 

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.

Range in age from 30 to 80 years – Median age of 69 – 73% are 65 years or older

Sex – 64% Male – 36% Female

State and local public health officials are interviewing people about the foods they ate in the month before they got sick. Of the seven people interviewed, all (100%) reported eating peaches, nectarines, or plums.

CDC conducted a case-case analysis, comparing foods reported by people in this outbreak to foods reported by people who got sick with Listeria but were not part of an outbreak. The analysis showed that people in this outbreak were 18 times more likely to eat peaches, nectarines, or plums (p<0.001) than sick people not in this outbreak. This suggests that peaches, nectarines, and plums are a likely source of this outbreak.

Public health investigators are using the PulseNet system to identify illnesses that may be part of this outbreak. CDC PulseNet manages a national database of DNA fingerprints of bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses. DNA fingerprinting is performed on bacteria using a method called whole genome sequencing (WGS). WGS showed that bacteria from sick people’s samples are closely related genetically. This suggests that people in this outbreak got sick from the same food.

On October 23, FDA collected a sample of HMC Farms peaches for testing and found Listeria in it. On November 6, WGS showed that the Listeria in the peaches are closely related to bacteria from sick people. This means that people likely got sick from eating these peaches.

On November 17, HMC Farms recalled whole peaches, plums, and nectarines sold in stores between May 1 and November 15 in 2022 and 2023. CDC is advising people not to eat, sell, or serve recalled fruit.

Listeria:  Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Listeria outbreaks. The Listeria lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Listeria and other foodborne illness outbreaks and have recovered over $850 million for clients.  Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation.  Our Listeria lawyers have litigated Listeria cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of foods, such as lettuce, polony, deli meat, cantaloupe, cheese, celery and milk.  

If you or a family member became ill with a Listeria infection after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark Listeria attorneys for a free case evaluation.

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