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WA Counts Victim in Nationwide Listeria Cheese Outbreak

The total number of people sickened with Listeria infections linked to ricotta cheese from a New York Cheese importer has risen from 14 to 15, with a new illness reported in Washington State, according to the outbreak updateissued by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Friday.

The total number of cases by state is as follows: California (1), Colorado (1), District of Columbia (1), Maryland (3), Minnesota (1), Nebraska (1), New Jersey (1), New Mexico (1), New York (1), Ohio (1), Pennsylvania (1), Virginia (1) and Washington (1).

All 15 victims have been hospitalized as a result of their infections, according to CDC. Three deaths have occurred, one each in Minnesota, Nebraska and New York. These deaths were reported by CDC in its initial outbreak report on Sept. 11.

The first illness connected to this outbreak began March 25, 2012, and illness onsets have been recorded as recently as August 26.

The following is a map of cases by state.

Forever Cheese of Long Island City, NY, which imports the recalled cheese, has also announced that it will not longer be importing cheese made by Fattorie Chiarappa Srl, the company whose ricotta is now linked to the multistate Listeria outbreak.

“Forever Cheese has decided to stop importing and selling all products produced by Fattorie Chiarappa Srl.” the firm said last week. Brands including Ricotta Salata Frescolina – the brand linked to this outbreak, Marte brand Roasted Ricotta and Hard Ricotta Salata will be discontinued immediately, said the company.

Health officials note that the affected cheese may also have been labeled as Ricotta Frescolina Marte Tipo Toscanella and/or Ricotta Salata Soft Lot (T9425) as it was being distributed.

Consumers who may have purchased the affected cheeses should not eat them and should discard them. This warning is especially important for pregnant women, people with weakened immune systems and older adults, warns FDA, as people in these categories risk more serious infections from Listeria monocytogenes.

Symptoms of Listeria infection, or listeriosis, usually include fever, chills, severe headache, vomiting, and other influenza-type symptoms. The CDC notes that infected individuals may develop fever, muscle aches, and sometimes gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea or diarrhea.

If you think you may have contracted listeriosis, contact your healthcare provider.

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