What is Listeria outbreak? Enoki mushrooms from South Korea kills 4 in US

  • Six pregnant women were detected with the infection and two faced miscarriages

  • The CDC has issued warning against the consumption of enoki mushrooms

A listeria outbreak linked to a certain batch of contaminated enoki mushroom has killed four people in the US. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention said that 36 cases were reported from 17 states.

Sung Hong Foods recalled its products on Monday after suggesting the possibility of listeria contamination in the mushrooms. So far, four deaths were reported in California, New Jersey, and Hawaii. There were reports of six pregnant women being detected with listeria. Two women suffered miscarriages because of the disease.

The CDC website issued a warning saying that people are requested not to eat, serve or sell any of the enoki mushrooms that were recalled by the CDC and Sung Hong Foods.

Enoki Mushrooms
Enoki Mushrooms Wikimedia Commons

What is listeriosis?

Listeriosis is a disease that can infect people when they consume food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. The disease can often be seen with the symptoms of headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, fever, muscle aches, and convulsions. But, it can also depend on person to person. The symptoms can start from just a week after consuming the food. It can also be detected even four weeks after eating the contaminated food.

Pregnant women who are infected by this disease are often at risk of miscarriage. The bacterial infection in pregnant women can also lead to stillbirth, premature delivery or life-threatening infection for the newborn. The infection can be treated with antibiotics.

The mushrooms are from South Korea

The source of contamination is being investigated by the CDC. Reports said that the mushrooms labelled 'Product of Korea', were sold in 7.05-ounce/200-gram clear plastic bags with a green label.

The illness began around November 23, 2016, and December 13, 2019. The CDC is also investigating the other products that could be linked to the disease. The CDC said that Sun Hong Foods became aware of the issue after the FDA notified that the samples tested in Michigan tested positive for listeria. The mushroom is commonly used for Korean food products.

The CDC said that until any information about the distribution and production of these mushroom is available pregnant women and people above the age of 65 is strictly advised to not consume any mushroom made in Korea.