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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

CDC Alert to U.S. Hospitals and Long-Term Care Facilities: Patients at Risk of Listeriosis from Certain Blue Bell Brand Ice Cream Products

Blue Bell Creameries has expanded its recall to now include all of its products currently on the market made at any of its facilities. CDC recommends that hospitals and long-term care facilities not serve or sell any Blue Bell brand products. Please check your freezer and inventory for these products. Visit CDC’s Advice to Consumers, Institutions, and Retailers to learn more.

Certain Blue Bell brand ice cream products may be contaminated with Listeria and can cause illness. Some of these products were distributed to institutions.

State and local health officials, CDC, and FDA are collaborating to investigate an outbreak of Listeria monocytogenesinfections (listeriosis) linked to Blue Bell Creameries ice cream products. Information available to date suggests that ill people likely acquired L. monocytogenes infections from ice cream products they consumed while hospitalized for unrelated causes.

As of April 20, 2015, a total of ten patients infected with several strains of Listeria monocytogenes were reported from four states: Arizona (1), Kansas (5), Oklahoma (1), and Texas (3). Illness onset dates ranged from January 2010 through January 2015. The patients with illness onsets ranging from 2010-2014 were identified through a retrospective review of the PulseNet database for DNA fingerprints matching isolates collected from Blue Bell ice cream samples. Since the last update on April 8, 2015, two additional patients, one each from Arizona and Oklahoma, were confirmed to be a part of the outbreak by whole genome sequencing. All ten (100%) patients were hospitalized. Three deaths were reported from Kansas.

One additional isolate from a patient with listeriosis is undergoing further molecular laboratory testing to determine whether this illness may be related to this outbreak. Results of this testing will be reported once they are available. CDC and state and local public health partners are continuing laboratory surveillance through PulseNet to identify any other ill persons that may be part of this outbreak.

People at higher risk for listeriosis include pregnant women, adults 65 and older, and people with weakened immune systems. Hospitalized patients are at higher risk of listeriosis than the general population because many are immunocompromised and of older age (1).

A recent review article indicates that hospital-acquired listeriosis represents a substantial proportion of overall listeriosis cases that are not associated with pregnancy.

For updates, please visit CDC’s outbreak website.
Silk BJ, McCoy MH, Iwamoto M, Griffin PM. Foodborne listeriosis acquired in hospitals. Clinical Infectious Diseases. 2014 May 20, 2014. doi:10.1093/cid/ciu365.

CDC: Blue Bell Listeria Outbreak Started In 2010