Authorities in France are investigating a number of Listeria infections after four people became ill.

The four people with listeriosis are infected with the same strain of the bacteria and were identified by the National Reference Center for Listeria. Investigations led by Santé Publique France and the Directorate-General for Food (DGAL) have identified the consumption of a certain cheese brand for two of the illnesses.

The Ferme du Castérieu, based in the Hautes-Pyrénées, has withdrawn from sale and recalled all pasteurized cow’s milk cheese, its cow and sheep mixture, and sheep’s cheese of the brand Casterieu.

Products were marketed for direct sale at the Ferme du Castérieu or in certain stores between May 1 and Aug. 8, 2019. Affected outlets in Charente-Maritime, La Rochelle; Haute Garonne, Toulouse; Gers, Auch; Gironde, Bordeaux; Pyrénées Atlantiques, Pau and Hautes Pyrénées, Tarbe have put up posters to inform consumers.

Some of the products have been sold before the withdrawal measure and health authorities called for consumers to be vigilant. They advised people who bought the implicated cheese to not consume it and bring it back to where they bought it.

Separate Spanish infections
Meanwhile, 16 Listeria infections have been noted in the space of two weeks in two areas of Spain.

Health authorities reported 12 listeriosis cases in Seville and four in Huelva but the source of infection is not yet known. Four of the people needed hospital treatment.

Epidemiological work has been started to determine the origin of infection and prevent more illnesses.

It is usually one or two weeks but can take up to 70 days after exposure to Listeria for symptoms of listeriosis to develop. Symptoms of infection can include vomiting, nausea, persistent fever, muscle aches, severe headache and neck stiffness.

Pregnant women, the elderly, young children, and people who have weakened immune systems are particularly at risk of serious illnesses, life-threatening infections and other complications. Although infected pregnant women may experience only mild, flu-like symptoms, their infections can lead to premature delivery, infection of the newborn or even stillbirth.

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