Listeriosis Outbreak Linked to Soft Cheeses

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Sept. 24, 2015 -- An outbreak of listeria infections among dozens of people in nine states appears to be linked to soft cheeses distributed by Karoun Dairies, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

Listeria infection (listeriosis) can cause serious, life-threatening illness.

Since Aug. 8, 2010, 24 people were infected with five closely-related strains of listeria. Twenty-two of those patients were hospitalized. Five illnesses occurred in pregnant women, and one of them had a miscarriage. One death was reported in Ohio.

Additional cases of listeriosis are being investigated by the CDC, the Food and Drug Administration and public health officials in several states.

Information from 23 of the patients shows that 19 (83 percent) of them ate soft cheese in the month before they became ill. Four of the seven patients who were able to name a brand of soft cheese they ate pinpointed brands distributed by Karoun Dairies. No other brand of soft cheese was reported more than once.

A Central Valley Cheese Inc. plant in Turlock, Calif. makes cheese for Karoun Dairies. DNA analysis of samples taken from the plant revealed five closely-related Listeria strains that were genetically similar to those found in the patients, the CDC said.

On Sept. 16, 2015, Karoun Dairies recalled and halted production of 15 types of soft cheeses distributed by the company. These cheeses were sold under the brand names: Karoun, Arz, Gopi, Queso Del Valle, Central Valley Creamery, and Yanni.

The recalled products are vacuum packed in jars or pails, with weights ranging from 5 ounces to 30 pounds. A full list is available on the CDC website. These products should not be sold at stores, served in restaurants or consumed at home.

Updates will be provided when more information from the ongoing investigation is available, the CDC said.

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