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Deadly Listeria Outbreak Linked to Eggs

DEC 19, 2019 | GRANT M. GALLAGHER
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state public health officials, and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are investigating a multistate outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections that have led to 4 hospitalizations and 1 death.

The CDC believes the 7 reported cases of infection as of December 18 are linked to bulk, fresh hard-boiled eggs produced by Almark Foods of Gainesville, Georgia.

The products that are believed to be the source infections have not been recalled. However, CDC is warning against selling, serving, or using the eggs due to the potential to cause severe infections.

Retailers are advised not to use bulk hard-boiled eggs produced at the Gainesville, Georgia Almark Foods facility, irrespective of use-by date. The products are packaged in plastic pails of various sizes. Food processors and manufacturers are advised not to use the eggs in ready-to-eat foods such as deviled eggs, salads, or egg salad.

Retailers are also advised to wash and sanitize any surfaces that may have contact with eggs or pail packaging, due to the ease with which Listeria can spread.

CDC data collected as of December 18 does not implicate Almark Foods hard-boiled eggs sold directly to consumers, or any other brand of hard-boiled eggs. However, until more information is available, those at high risk for Listeria infection such as pregnant women, adults age 65 or older, people on dialysis, people with cancer, and the immunocompromised are advised to throw away any store-bought hard-boiled eggs or products containing them.

Pregnant women usually only experience fever and flu-like symptoms, but infections during pregnancy can lead to serious complications for newborns.

Symptoms in other populations can include headache, stiff neck, loss of balance, confusion, and convulsions in addition to flu-like symptoms. Symptoms are typically reported 1 to 4 weeks after eating contaminated food. The illness is treated with antibiotics.

Listeria specimens were collected from April 10, 2017 to November 12, 2019. The 7 infections have been reported across 5 states.

For the most recent case counts in the Listeria outbreak with a link to eggs, visit the Contagion® Outbreak Monitor.
 
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