Listeriosis, a disease caused by the bacterium Listeria monocytogenis, has led to the deaths of three people in Washington state, local authorities said. The investigation found that the source of the infection was a milkshake at a fast food restaurant.
A statement from the Washington State Department of Health indicated that the bacteria-contaminated beverages were served to customers at a fast-food chain in Tacoma. An investigation by local authorities concluded that the poisoning was caused by improper cleaning of the ice cream machine that was part of the milkshakes, a statement quoted by CNN said. It also shows that between February 27 and July 22 this year, six people who tested positive for the same strain of Listeria monocytogenes were hospitalized in Washington state. Three of them died. Two of the three rescued hospitalized patients testified that they drank cocktails at a Tacoma restaurant before falling ill.
The Washington State Department of Health said in a statement that the machine, on which the deadly bacteria appeared, was in operation until August 7. It appealed to all people who ate in the premises from May 29 to that day and noticed disturbing symptoms to immediately report to a doctor. Why was May 29 chosen as the cut-off date? CNN explains that Listeria can cause symptoms for up to 70 days after eating a contaminated meal.
Listeriosis – what is this disease?
Listeria monocytogenes bacteria cause an infectious disease called listeriosis. People and animals suffer from it. You can become ill after eating contaminated dairy products, fruits, vegetables and meat. In some cases, the first signs of infection are diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms. Common symptoms that follow later include headaches, stiff neck, fever, muscle pain, confusion, balance problems, and seizures. The disease can even lead to death.
The US Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) points out that pregnant women are particularly at risk of listeriosis. In their case, the risk of catching the disease is supposed to be 10 times higher than for the rest of the population.
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