California (14), Colorado (1), Illinois (1), Massachusetts (2), Michigan (1), New York (2), Ohio (1), Tennessee (1), and Washington (1).
Listeria monocytogenes is bacteria that causes a severe infection called listeriosis. Complications include meningitis, sepsis and death.
Our law firm is investigating this outbreak.
This is an interesting outbreak for a couple of reasons:
- There are 5 different PFGE [DNA fingerprint] patterns. Although they are rare patterns, they are closely related per whole genome sequencing.
- There is a wide range of dates of illness, with a Listeria specimen collection range from August 8, 2010 to August 24, 2015.
PulseNet, a database of listeriosis reports, was used to identify illnesses that may be part of this outbreak. It is because of this database that illnesses diagnosed over a 5 year period could be connected.
The cluster was first identified in August 2015 after investigators saw an increase in one of the five rare PFGE fingerprints reported to PulseNet. WGS found that the four other PFGE fingerprints were closely related genetically to the first PFGE fingerprint. Illnesses associated with those PFGE fingerprints were added to the investigation, even though occurred over 5 years ago. Additional illnesses are under investigation.
Those sickened in the outbreak range in age from less than 1 year to 92, and the median age is 77. Twenty-one (91%) of 23 ill people for whom information is available reported being hospitalized. Five of the illnesses were pregnancy-related, and one illness resulted in a fetal loss. One listeriosis wrongful death was reported from Ohio.
The outbreak can be illustrated with a chart showing the number of persons who were diagnosed each day. This chart is called an epidemic curve or epi curve.
Investigation of the Outbreak
Most people sickened in the outbreak reported eating soft cheese before becoming ill.
State and local health departments are interviewing ill people about the foods they may have eaten or other exposures in the month before their illness began. Fifteen (63%) of 24 people with available information are of Middle Eastern or Eastern European descent or shopped at Middle Eastern-style markets. Of 22 ill people for whom information is available, 18 (82%) consumed soft cheeses, and 16 (89%) reported eating Middle Eastern, Eastern European, Mediterranean, or Mexican-style cheeses, including ani, feta (including Bulgarian feta), Middle Eastern-style string cheese, and nabulsi. Four (57%) of seven ill people who specified the brand of cheese eaten reported brands distributed by Karoun Dairies. No other brand of cheese was reported more than once.
In response to the 4 illnesses associated with Karoun Dairies cheese, on September 16, 2015, Karoun Dairies, Inc. issued a cheese recall and ceased production of certain cheeses that the company distributes due to possible contamination with Listeria. The recall includes several brands and types of cheeses that were distributed to retail outlets in the United States. Products were sold under the following brands: Karoun, Arz, Gopi, Queso Del Valle, Central Valley Creamery, and Yanni. A full list of cheeses is available on the Advice to Consumers, Restaurants, and Retailers page.
Listeriosis Claim Form
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Karoun Dairies Cheese Recall List
Karoun Dairies recalled cheeses may have been distributed to the retailers below. The products were recalled on September 17, 2015, due to the risk of contamination with Listeria monocytogenes.
Kroger Grocery Stores
- KAROUN MOZZARELLA BALL, 16 OZ; ARZ ORIGINAL BRAID CHEESE, 8 OZ; KAROUN SMOKED MOZZARELLA BALL, 16 OZ; ARZ ACKAWI CHEESE, 12 OZ; GOPI PANEER CHEESE, 14 OZ; KAROUN NABULSI CHEESE, 20 OZ; ARZ SYRIAN CHEESE, 12 OZ; KAROUN MARINATED BRAID CHEESE, 13 OZ; ARZ CHICAGO CHEESE, 12 OZ; ARZ CARAWAY BRAID CHEESE, 8 OZ; KAROUN BLACK CARAWAY STRING CHEESE, 13 OZ; KAROUN STRING CHEESE, 13 OZ; KAROUN WHOLE MILK BRAID CHEESE, 13 OZ; KAROUN ANI CHEESE IN BRINE, 48 OZ; KAROUN ACKAWI CHEESE, 20 OZAffects: Ralphs and Food 4 Less
- YANNI STYLE GRILLING CHEESE, 8 OZ; QUESO DEL VALLE FRESCO CHEESE, 8 OZ; QUESO DEL VALLE BLANCO CHEESE, 8 OZ; QUESO DEL VALLE COTIJA CHEESE, 8 OZ; KAROUN STRING CHEESE BRAID, 5 OZ; YANNI STYLE GRILLING CHEESE WITH JALAPENO, 8 OZ; CENTRAL VALLEY CREAMERY SMOKED STRING CHEESE, 5 OZAffects: Kroger Stores located in Georgia; South Carolina; Auburn, Alabama; Greater Cincinnati (including Northern Kentucky and Dayton, Ohio plus South Eastern Indiana); Central and Northwest Ohio; Northwestern Virginia panhandle; Michigan; Indiana (except SE Indiana, -Evansville-); Illinois; Eastern Missouri; Greater Memphis area, Tennessee; Arkansas; Mississippi; Western Kentucky; Hopkinsville and Bowling Green, Kentucky; Nashville and Knoxville, Tennessee; Huntsville, Alabama; North Carolina; Virginia; Eastern West Virginia; Eastern Kentucky; Southeastern Ohio; Texas and Louisiana; Jay C, Dillons, Frys, Fred Meyer, Ralphs, Food 4 Less, QFC and Smiths.
- KAROUN JUMBO STRING CHEESE MARINATED, BULK RANDOM WEIGHTAffects: Kroger stores located in Central and Northwest Ohio; Northwestern Virginia panhandle; Michigan; Indiana (except SE Indiana, -Evansville-); Illinois; Eastern Missouri; Greater Memphis area, Tennessee; Arkansas; Mississippi; Western Kentucky; North Carolina; Virginia; Eastern West Virginia; Eastern Kentucky; Southeastern Ohio; Texas and Louisiana; and Dillons.
- Recalled cheese may have been distributed to some Sam’s Club stores. Walmart did not provide a list of the specific stores.
- The following product may have been distributed to Publix Super Markets, Inc.: Karoun Goat Basket Feta 8oz. UPC 96252 50001.