State and local health officials, CDC, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are collaborating to investigate an outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections (listeriosis) likely linked to certain Blue Bell brand ice cream products.
Listeriosis is a life-threatening infection caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium (germ) Listeria monocytogenes.
Five people infected with one of four strains of Listeria monocytogenes were reported from Kansas.
- All five people were hospitalized at the same hospital for unrelated problems before developing invasive listeriosis—a finding that strongly suggests their infections were acquired in the hospital.
- Three deaths were reported among these five patients.
Of the four ill people for whom information is available on the foods eaten in the month before Listeria infection, all four consumed milkshakes made with a single-serving Blue Bell brand ice cream product called “Scoops” while they were in the hospital.
Three strains of Listeria monocytogenes isolated from Blue Bell brand ice cream products obtained in 2015 in South Carolina and Texas had pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) patterns that were indistinguishable from those of Listeria monocytogenes isolates obtained from samples from four patients.
The Blue Bell brand ice cream products with tests showing Listeria monocytogenes were ice cream Scoops, Chocolate Chip Country Cookie Sandwiches, and Great Divide Bars. Blue Bell Creameries reported that these products were removed from the market in March 2015. However, contaminated ice cream products may still be in the freezers of consumers, institutions, and retailers.
CDC recommends that consumers do not eat any products that Blue Bell brand ice cream removed from the market. A detailed list of products is available on the Advice page. This investigation is ongoing, and new information will be provided as it becomes available.
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