February 13, 2015 — The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued an update declaring that a deadly outbreak of Listeria linked to caramel apples is likely over.
The final case count is 35 illnesses in 12 states, including seven people who died. Listeriosis contributed to at least three of the deaths.
At least 34 people were hospitalized. One pregnant woman who was infected had a miscarriage. Three children (aged 5-15 years) developed invasive meningitis infections.
Of the 31 people who were interviewed, 90% reported eating caramel apples before getting sick. Illness onset dates ranged from October 17, 2014, to January 6, 2015.
A number of recalls have been issued for pre-packaged, commercially-produced caramel apples supplied by Bidart Brothers. The company recalled Granny Smith and Gala apples on January 6.
On January 18, the FDA used whole genome sequencing (WGS) to analyze the strain of Listeria collected at Bidart Brothers apply-packing facility. Those strains of Listeria were“highly related to the outbreak strains.”
The CDC warns:
“This outbreak appears to be over. However, recalled products may still be in people’s homes. Consumers unaware of the recalls could continue to eat the products and get sick.”
States where illnesses occurred include: Arizona (5), California (3), Colorado (1), Minnesota (4), Missouri (5), Nevada (1), New Mexico (6), North Carolina (1), Texas (4), Utah (1), Washington (1), and Wisconsin (3).
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