Kansas health officials, in coordination with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), have been investigating an outbreak of listeriosis that has affected five adult Kansas residents linked to ice cream consumed from Blue Bell Creameries.
Five people in Kansas have become ill as part of this outbreak and three deaths have been reported. Patients became ill with listeriosis after hospitalizations for unrelated causes at the same hospital. They became ill between January 2014 and January 2015 after a majority were known to have consumed Blue Bell Creameries ice cream at the hospital.
The hospital was not aware of the listeriosis contamination. The outbreak was recently discovered after two patients were identified with the same strain of listeriosis. Further investigation identified three other patients with listeriosis who had been hospitalized for unrelated causes before the onset of listeriosis.
Today, the FDA warned consumers about the potential contamination in Blue Bell Creameries’ products. Kansas health officials are warning consumers who have purchased the following Blue Bell Creameries novelty items and have not consumed the items to discard them: Chocolate Chip Country Cookie, Great Divide Bar, Sour Pop Green Apple Bar, Cotton Candy Bar, Scoops, Vanilla Stick Slices, Almond Bar and No Sugar Added Mooo Bar (regular Mooo Bars are not included).
Listeriosis is a rare but serious illness caused by eating food contaminated with the bacteria called Listeria monocytogenes. Anyone who experiences fever and muscle aches, sometimes preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms, or develops fever and chills after eating the ice cream should seek medical care and tell their health care provider about any history of eating the ice cream. Symptoms can appear from a few days up to a few weeks after consumption of the contaminated food.
Listeriosis can be fatal, especially in certain high-risk groups. These groups include the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems and certain chronic medical conditions (such as cancer). In pregnant women, listeriosis can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, premature labor, and serious illness or death in newborn babies.
Blue Bell Creameries reports that the above products were removed from the market.