Four people have died from a Listeria outbreak linked to prepackaged caramal apples, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
At least 28 people in 10 states have become sick due to the bacterial infection. Twenty-six have been hospitalized. Five of the patients have died, although one death was not linked to Listeria.
Nine of the illnesses were linked to pregnancy, affecting either a pregnant woman or a newborn. The outbreak also has been linked to three cases of invasive meningitis — a dangerous inflammation of the lining of the brain or spinal cord — in healthy children ages 5 to 15.
More than 80% of patients said they ate commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples before becoming sick, according to the CDC. There is no link to home-made caramel apples or fresh produce. Health officials are working to try to identify a specific brand or type of caramel apple.
For now, however, the CDC advises people to avoid all prepackaged caramel apples.
Listeria bacteria can cause an illness called listeriorisis that is most hazardous to pregnant women, elderly people, infants and those with weakened immune systems. More than 48 million Americans suffer from foodborne illness each year and 3,000 die, according to the CDC. At least 629 Americans have been sickened by Listeria so far this year.
Health officials say prepackaged caramel apples are linked to five deaths and more than two dozen illnesses in 10 states.(Photo: iStockphoto)
Source : http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/12/19/caramel-apples-listeria-outbreak/20636809/