By Robert Preidt
MONDAY, July 8 (HealthDay News) -- A recent listeria outbreak that caused one death and sickened four other people seems to be linked to cheeses made by a Wisconsin firm, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.
An investigation by federal, state and local health agencies indicates that Les Freres, Petit Frere, and Petit Frere with Truffles cheeses made by Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese Company of Waterloo are the likely sources of the outbreak, the CDC said.
The five people who became ill were in Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota and Ohio. All had to be hospitalized and one person in Minnesota died. One illness in a pregnant woman resulted in a miscarriage, according to the CDC.
The dates of the illnesses ranged from May 20 to June 17. The patients' median age was 58 and 80 percent of them were women.
On July 3, Crave Brothers recalled its Les Freres, Petit Frere, and Petit Frere with Truffles cheeses with make dates of July 1, 2013 or earlier due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination, the CDC said.
The recalled cheeses were sold nationwide at retail and foodservice outlets, as well as by mail order. People who bought any of the recalled cheeses should throw them away. It's especially important that pregnant women, older adults and people with weakened immune systems not eat the recalled cheeses. These people have the highest risk for infection and serious health problems, the CDC noted.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is conducting an inspection at Crave Brothers' processing facility in coordination with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture.
Each year in the United States, about 800 laboratory-confirmed cases of listeriosis are reported and three or four outbreaks are identified and reported to CDC. Foods that have been linked to outbreaks in recent years include Mexican-style soft cheeses, imported ricotta salata cheese, whole cantaloupe, raw sprouts and precut celery, according to the CDC.