Three Kansas Hospital Patients Die After Eating Tainted Ice CreamMar 17, 2015
Three patients at a Kansas hospital have died after eating Blue Bell ice cream tainted with listeria, but health officials say food-borne illness was not the sole cause of their deaths.
Sara Belfry, spokeswoman for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, told the Los Angeles Times that the people had been in the hospital for other reasons and that the ice cream was not the only cause of their deaths. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said five hospital patients were infected; four of them drank milkshakes made with a single serving of Blue Bell's Scoops ice cream at the hospital, which "strongly suggests their infections were acquired in the hospital," the CDC said.
Listeriosis is caused by consuming food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes bacteria, the CDC said. Symptoms include fever and muscle aches, sometimes preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms. Listeriosis is treated with antibiotics. The bacteria can cause fatal infections in infants, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems. Listeriosis can also lead to miscarriages and stillbirths in pregnant women, according to the CDC.
The outbreak was linked to products made on a single production line at the Blue Bell Creameries plant in Brenham, Texas, the Times reports. Listeria bacteria were found in Blue Bell's single-serving Chocolate Chip Country Cookie Sandwiches, No Sugar Added Mooo Bars, Sour Pop Green Apple Bars, Great Divide Bars, Vanilla Stick Slices and Almond Bars, the company said in a statement. The tainted products have been recalled.