The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) reported today that at least five hospitalizations in a single Kansas hospital tested positive for one of four strains of Listeria monocytogenes. Three of the victims have died. Three of these strains are closely related and have been found in ice-cream manufactured and distributed by Blue Bell Creameries. Blue Bell Creameries is located in Brenham, Texas, west of Houston where Listeria Lawyer Ron Simon is headquartered.
“What makes this outbreak so troubling,” says Texas Listeria Lawyer Ron Simon, “is that the victims were sickened over a lengthy period of time, from January of last year to January of this year.” Simon explained that what may have delayed identification of Blue Bell Creameries as the source is that the victims suffered from variants of Listeria monocytogenes. The hallmark of most outbreaks is that the victims are all sickened from a single strain, making it easy to group them together in a single outbreak. But here, the victims and Blue Bell Creameries have been linked to variety of strains of Listeria monocytogenes. In fact, the only thing that enabled authorities to zero in on Blue Bell Creameries as the source was that on February 12, 2015 the South Carolina Department of Health & Environmental Control (SCDHEC) identified all three of the rare strains (that had sickened the Kansas victims) AND four more strains of Listeria monocytogenes in Blue Bell Creameries Chocolate Chip Country Cookie Sandwich and Blue Bell Creameries Great Divide Bar ice cream products.
Since the February 12th findings, the Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS) conducted testing at Blue Bell Creameries in Brenham. The testing confirmed that an entire production line was contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes – this production line produces the Blue Bell Creameries Chocolate Chip Country Cookie Sandwich and Blue Bell Creameries Great Divide Bar ice cream products identified by the SCDHEC, as well as Scoops, a single-serving ice cream product.
The KDHE confirmed that the Kansas hospital in question purchases its ice cream from Blue Bell Creameries, and that each of the victims is known to have eaten the single serving ice-cream or to have drunk milkshakes made with them. All of the five victims were adults.
Texas Listeria lawyer Ron Simon, a national leader in food safety, warns that Listeria is one of the most serious pathogens he has seen in his 20 years of legal practice. “It hospitalized 85% of its victims, and as can be seen in this outbreak, Listeriosis can be fatal.” Ron Simon encourages anyone who has eaten this ice-cream and subsequently been sickened with fever and muscle aches, or who has developed diarrhea or gastrointestinal symptoms similar to food poisoning, should immediately see their doctor and explain they have been exposed to a product known to be contaminated with Listeria. Thereafter, victims are encouraged to contact the Texas Listeria Lawyers at Ron Simon & Associates to safeguard any legal rights they might have. To reach a Listeria Lawyer, call 1-888-335-4901 or 713-335-4837.