As of March 9, 2020, 36 people infected with the outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes have been reported from 17 states. Arizona 2, California 9, Florida 2, Hawaii 3, Indiana 1, Kentucky 1, Maryland 2, Massachusetts 2, Michigan 1, Missouri 1, Nevada 1, New Jersey 1, New York 4, North Carolina 1, Rhode Island 1, Tennessee 1, Virginia 3.
Four deaths have been reported from California, Hawaii, and New Jersey. Six cases are pregnancy-associated and two resulted in fetal loss.
Listeria samples from ill people were collected from November 23, 2016 to December 13, 2019. Ill people range in age from less than 1 to 97 years, with a median age of 67. Fifty-eight percent of ill people are female. Of 32 ill people with information available, 30 hospitalizations have been reported.
Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicates that enoki mushrooms labeled as “Product of Korea” are the likely source of this outbreak.
State and local public health officials interviewed ill people about the foods they ate in the month before they became ill. Twelve out of 22 (55%) reported eating mushrooms, including enoki, portobello, white, button, cremini, wood ear, maitake, and oyster.
Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development collected mushrooms for testing from a grocery store where an ill person purchased enoki mushrooms. Two samples of enoki mushrooms yielded the outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes. These mushrooms are labeled as “Product of Korea” and were distributed by Sun Hong Foods, Inc. Additional product testing is ongoing in California.
On March 9, 2020, Sun Hong Foods, Inc. recalled enoki mushrooms (UPC 7 426852 625810) labeled as “Product of Korea”. Consumers, food service operators, and retailers should not eat, serve, or sell recalled enoki mushrooms. Enoki mushrooms distributed by Sun Hong Foods, Inc. do not account for all illnesses in this outbreak. FDA is working to identify the source of the enoki mushrooms distributed by Sun Hong Foods, Inc. and determine if other distributors received the same enoki mushrooms.
CDC is concerned that enoki mushrooms labeled as “Product of Korea” may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes and are advising people at higher risk – pregnant women, adults ages 65 years or older, and people with weakened immune systems – to avoid eating any enoki mushrooms labeled as “Product of Korea”, until investigators determine the source of contamination and if additional products are linked to illness.
Listeria monocytogenes (Listeria) is a foodborne disease-causing bacteria; the disease caused by the ingestion of Listeria bacteria is called listeriosis. Listeria can invade the body through a normal and intact gastrointestinal tract. See, www.about-listeria.com.
Once in the body, Listeria can travel through the blood stream; it invades and grows best in the central nervous system among immune compromised persons, causing meningitis and/or encephalitis (brain infection). In pregnant women, the fetus can become infected with Listeria, leading to spontaneous abortion, stillbirths, or sepsis (blood infection) in infancy.
Consumption of food contaminated with Listeria can cause listeriosis, a serious infection that primarily affects older adults, persons with weakened immune systems, and pregnant women and newborns. Less commonly, persons outside these risk groups are affected.
Listeriosis (disease caused by Listeria) can cause fever, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions sometimes preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms.
Listeriosis is treated with antibiotics. Persons in the higher-risk categories who experience flu-like symptoms within two months after eating contaminated food should seek medical care and tell the health care provider about eating the contaminated food. See, www.about-listeria.com.
We represent the families of individuals who have suffered illness or the loss of a loved one from this deadly bacterium.
The Marler Clark Listeria lawyers and attorneys have unmatched experience representing victims of Listeria. Our Listeria lawyers have represented thousands of victims of notable Listeria outbreaks such as the 2011 Jensen Farms Listeria outbreak where over 33 people died, the 2010 Sangar Fresh Cut Produce Listeria outbreak, the 2007 Whittier Farms Listeria outbreak, the 2012 Marte brand Fescolina ricotta salata cheese Listeria outbreak, the 2016 Dole Lettuce Lister outbreak and the 2017 Vulto Creamery Listeria outbreak. We are presently assisting in a Listeria outbreak in South Africa that sickened over 1,000 and killed over 200.
- About Listeria – a complete online resource for Listeria information
- Family Health Guide About Listeria infection, or Listeriosis (pdf)
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 $700 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 cantaloupe, cheese, celery and milk.
If you or a family member became ill with a Listeria infection after consuming contaminated food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, you can contact the Marler Clark attorneys for a free case evaluation. Marler Clark is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Listeria and other foodborne illnesses, and is the only firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation.
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