(WTNH) — The Connecticut Department of Public Health is investigating after someone from Connecticut died from eating cheese contaminated with Listeria.
The investigation spans multiple states after there was an outbreak of six confirmed cases of Listeria monocytogenes in cheese from a creamery in New York. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as state and local officials have identified Ouleout cheese from Vulto Creamery of Walton, New York as the likely cause of the outbreak.
The patients who were sickened in the outbreak were reported from Connecticut, Florida, New York and Vermont. They range in age from 0 to 89 years old. Two of the six patients have died, one of which was a Connecticut resident.
Vulto Creamery began contacting their customers to return any purchased Ouleout cheese on March 3, after being informed of a positive Ouleout cheese sample. They issued a formal recall including their Miranda, Heinennelli, and Willowemoc cheeses as well. The soft, raw milk cheeses were distributed nationwide, with most being sold at retail locations in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States, California, Chicago, Portland and Washington, D.C.
The Connecticut Department of Public Health says they are aware that a Whole Foods grocery store in Fairfield had received cheese from Vulto for retail sale and has initiated its own recall.
The FDA is collecting additional distribution information from the creamery. Specialty retailers and customers who have recalled cheese in their establishments or homes should throw the cheese away and not consume or sell it. Display cases or refrigerators that may have held potentially contaminated product should be washed and sanitized, as well as any cutting boards or cheese knives used to cut, serve or store the product.
Listeriosis is a rare, but serious illness that is usually 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 while pregnant after eating any of the recalled products should seek medical care.
Symptoms can appear from a few days up to a few weeks after consumption of the contaminated food. Listeriosis can be fatal, especially in the elderly, people with weakened immune systems and certain chronic medical conditions. In pregnant women, listeriosis can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, premature labor, and serious illness or death in newborn babies.