A pre-cooked chicken Listeria outbreak has sickened three people at a nursing home and hospital in Texas and Delaware, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). One person has died. Health officials have confirmed through genetic testing that all three people were sickened by the identical strain which has also been found in two samples of pre-cooked chicken. Tyson brand pre-cooked chicken has been recalled in association with this outbreak.
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The CDC says it’s likely that this outbreak includes more illnesses that have not yet been confirmed. The three cases that have been confirmed are among patients who range in age from 60 to 95 years, with a median age of 89. One case was reported from Delaware, two cases were reported from Texas. All three people were hospitalized, the fatality was reported from Texas.
In its outbreak announcement, the CDC stated that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA FSIS) found the outbreak strain in pre-cooked chicken during routine testing. A recall has not been issued and it’s not clear why. Listeria is an adulterant in ready-to eat-foods, meaning it is illegal to sell foods contaminated with it.
Symptoms of a Listeria infection include high fever, severe headache, muscle stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Among pregnant women, Listeria can cause miscarriages and stillbirths. Listeria symptoms can take as long as 70 days to develop but usually appear about two weeks after exposure to the contaminated food.
While USDA-FSIS gathers records food purchase records from the long-term care facility and hospital to try and identify a common supplier of precooked chicken, the CDC is advising pregnant women, seniors, and people with compromised immune systems to avoid eating products containing pre-cooked chicken. The agency is also advising facilities that provide care to people at high risk of serious illness from Listeria to reheat any precooked chicken they have on hand to an internal temperature of 165°F.
If you were sickened in this outbreak or if your family experienced the wrongful death of a loved one and you would like to discuss your legal options, please contact our Listeria lawyers. Our Food Safety Team has more experience handling Listeria lawsuits than any other law firm in the country securing some of the largest Listeria settlements in U.S. history including a recent award of $6.4 million for neurologic injury from a contaminated deli product.