- Four rare strains of Listeria monocytogenes in five patients in Kansas hospital with onset dates January 2014 to January 2015.
- Invoices link hospital purchases to Blue Bell Creameries in Brenham, Texas.
- Three strains of Listeria monocytogenes isolated from the ice cream samples linked by samples taken in South Carolina.
- Texas Department of State Health Services found Listeria monocytogenes on products made on same product line at Blue Bell’s facility.
According to the CDC and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, five patients who were treated in a single hospital in Kansas were infected with one of four rare strains of Listeria monocytogenes. All five case patients are adults. Three deaths have been reported. Three of these strains, which are highly similar, have also been found in products manufactured at the Blue Bell Creameries production facility in Brenham, Texas. Illness onset dates range from January 2014 to January 2015.
Three strains of Listeria monocytogenes isolated from the ice cream samples had PFGE patterns that were indistinguishable from those of Listeria bacteria obtained from samples from four patients. Listeria monocytogenes isolates with four other PFGE patterns were also isolated from the ice cream samples. Invoices provided by the hospital to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment indicate that the Blue Bell brand ice cream Scoops used in the patients’ milkshakes came from Blue Bell Creamery’s facility in Texas. Whole genome sequencing of the Listeria monocytogenes isolates obtained from the ice cream is in progress.
FDA was notified that these three strains and four other rare strains of Listeria monocytogenes were found in samples of Blue Bell Creameries single serving Chocolate Chip Country Cookie Sandwich and the Great Divide Bar ice cream products collected by the South Carolina Department of Health & Environmental Control during routine product sampling at a South Carolina distribution center, on February 12, 2015. These products are manufactured at Blue Bell Creameries’ Brenham facility.
The Texas Department of State Health Services, subsequently, collected product samples from the Blue Bell Creameries Brenham facility. These samples yielded Listeria monocytogenes from the same products tested by South Carolina and a third single-serving ice cream product, Scoops, which is also made on the same production line.
According to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, hospital records available for four patients show that all were served ice cream from Blue Bell Creameries’ prepackaged, single-serving products and milkshakes made from these products.