The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified the specific brands of cheese products that have led to the outbreak of Listeria on the East Coast.
Earlier this month, the CDC issued a public alert following several reported illnesses in consumers who ate certain varieties of fresh, soft cheese.
“Do not eat any fresh and soft Spanish-style cheeses (such as queso fresco, queso blanco and queso panela) until we have identified a specific type or brand that makes people ill,” the CDC said in an initial statement.
This week, the CDC identified the specific brands: El Abuelito, Rio Grande and Rio Lindo.
According to the CDC, all fresco products sold under these names should be considered suspicious and could potentially be contaminated with Listeria.
On Friday, January 1
“Other El Abuelito cheeses, produced or processed in the same facility as the queso fresco, have not yet been withdrawn, but the CDC is concerned that they could contaminate and make people ill,” officials said. “Investigators are working to identify any cheese products produced or processed in this facility that may be contaminated.”
As of Thursday, February 25, there have been 10 reported illnesses, including nine hospitalizations due to the outbreak. Of those 10 diseases, four were reported in New York, one in Connecticut, and others reported in Virginia and Maryland.
Officials noted that Connecticut officials found the outbreak of listeria in samples of El Abuelito frescoed cheese collected from a store where a sick man had bought El Abuelito cheese.
According to the Food Safety and Inspection Service, the consumption of food contaminated with L. monocytogenes can cause listeriosis, a serious infection that mainly affects the elderly, those with weakened immune systems, pregnant women and their newborns.
Other people outside these risk groups are less likely to be affected.
“Listeriosis can cause fever, muscle aches, headaches, neck stiffness, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions, sometimes preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms.
“Invasive infection spreads outside the gastrointestinal tract. In pregnant women, the infection can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth or life-threatening infection of the newborn. In addition, serious and sometimes fatal infections in the elderly and people with weakened immune systems. “
Listeria affects approximately 1,600 Americans each year, killing about 260, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Most people only suffer from acute fever, stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea and headaches.
Click here to sign up for Free Daily Voice daily emails and news alerts.