Three fatalities and three individuals requiring hospitalization have been reported due to the consumption of milkshakes tainted with listeria bacteria from a Washington restaurant, as indicated by health authorities.
The source of the outbreak has been traced to Frugals, an eatery located in Tacoma, Washington, approximately 30 miles away from Seattle. A news release from the Washington State Department of Health on Friday revealed that investigators connected the outbreak to the restaurant after two out of the six hospitalized individuals confirmed drinking the contaminated milkshakes prior to falling ill.
Samples were gathered from the ice cream machines, which had not been appropriately sanitized, and the presence of the bacteria was detected within these machines.
While the restaurant ceased utilizing the affected machines on August 8, it is important to note that symptoms of listeria contamination can emerge even up to 70 days after exposure, as stated by the health department.
Genetic analysis of the bacteria strain found in the milkshakes unveiled that it matched the strain responsible for hospitalizing six people from February 27 to July 22. These individuals had pre-existing conditions that compromised their immune systems.
What is Listeria monocytogenes?
Listeria Monocytogenes is a pathogenic bacterium commonly found in damp environments, soil, water, decaying organic matter, and animals. The transmission of this bacteria can occur during various stages of food production and handling, including harvesting, processing, preparation, packing, transportation, and storage, particularly in locations already contaminated with the bacteria, as detailed by the United States Food and Drug Administration.
Symptoms of Listeria Contamination Consuming food tainted with listeria can lead to the development of a condition known as listeriosis. Particularly vulnerable groups include pregnant individuals, adults aged 65 or older, and those with weakened immune systems, according to the CDC.
Pregnant individuals might experience fatigue, muscle aches, and fever. Listeria contamination can also result in pregnancy loss and premature birth, as noted by health authorities. Non-pregnant individuals typically exhibit symptoms such as:
- Muscle aches
- Stiff neck
- Loss of balance
Treatment for Listeria Contamination Antibiotics can be used to treat listeria infection, as recommended by the health department.
Recent Ice Cream Recall Due to Possible Listeria Outbreak Earlier this month, the FDA disclosed a potential listeria outbreak linked to Soft Serve On The Go ice cream cups manufactured by Real Kosher Ice Cream, based in Brooklyn, New York. This revelation followed reports of illness in two individuals after consuming the ice cream.
"The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture collected an unopened sample of Soft Serve On The Go from an ill person's home. This sample was reported as positive for listeria monocytogenes," the FDA stated.