- 10 people fell ill with listeria from consuming Hispanic cheese products from different brands of El Abuelito Cheese
- Federal and local health authorities ordered the withdrawal of 17 products from the El Abuelito firm
- Among the products affected are fresh cheese; fresh country cheese; Guatemalan, Honduran and Salvadoran curds
Ten people have become ill from listeria after consuming fresh or soft cheese products Hispanic guy of the different brands of the El Abuelito company, reported this Wednesday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the United States, reported the Efe agency.
This outbreak has sickened a dozen people in four states (Connecticut, Maryland, New York and Virginia) and nine of them have had to be hospitalized, although none have died, the CDC indicated in a food alert.
Faced with this situation, the federal agency extended its advice to consumers, restaurants and grocers not to eat, sell or serve any cheese with the El Abuelito brand, in addition to the fresh cheese recalled from the market that is sold under the brands El Abuelito, Río Grande and Rio Lindo.
The FDA also recommended that those who have purchased or received these products take special care in cleaning surfaces that have come in contact with the cheeses.
“The Listeria bacteria can survive in refrigeration temperatures and can easily spread to other foods and surfaces,” the agency added.
CDC is concerned that any cheese made or handled at the El Abuelito Cheese Inc. facility, the “likely” source of this outbreak, may be “contaminated and making people sick.”
Connecticut officials found the listeria outbreak strain in samples of El Abuelito brand fresh cheese collected from a store where a sick person purchased cheese.
The Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had reported this Monday that they had ordered 17 products from the firm El Abuelito Cheese to be withdrawn.
The Latin company based in Paterson, New Jersey, has withdrawn from the stores all the products of the queso fresco line that had a sale date until March 28, and has suspended the production and distribution of its products, the FDA said.
The list of products includes the El Abuelito, Río Grande and Río Lindo brands distributed in Connecticut, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
Products affected include fresh cheese; fresh country cheese; Guatemalan, Honduran and Salvadoran curds; Guatemalan fresh cheese; fresh cheese banana leaf; Chirilagua fresh cheese and Yorito fresh cheese.
Listeria can cause a serious illness (known as invasive listeriosis) when the bacteria spread beyond the intestine to other parts of the body.
Pregnant people generally only experience fever, fatigue, and muscle aches.
However, listeria infection during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, fetal death, premature delivery, or a life-threatening infection of the newborn.
People who are not pregnant may experience headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and seizures, in addition to fever and muscle aches.
Symptoms of a serious illness usually begin one to four weeks after eating listeria-contaminated food, but can begin the same day or even up to 70 days later, the CDC noted.
In the US, an estimated 1,600 people get listeriosis each year and about 260 die. The hospitalization rate is 94%, which means that of the roughly 1,600 people who contract the disease each year, about 1,500 are hospitalized, according to CDC data.
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