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WJBD - Health & Fitness News - Deadly Listeria Outbreak May Be Linked to Cheese

Deadly Listeria Outbreak May Be Linked to Cheese

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A deadly listeria outbreak, which may be linked to specialty cheeses, has sickened four people and killed one, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The outbreak of the potentially deadly bacterial infection has been linked to cheeses produced by Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese in Wisconsin. According to the FDA, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture is testing samples of the cheese and early results indicate that there is listeria bacteria present in the samples. Confirmation of these results is pending.

The company has voluntarily recalled certain cheeses that were made on or prior to July 1, 2013, including their les freres cheese, the petit frere cheese and the petit frere cheese with truffles.

"We are cooperating with the regulatory agencies' ongoing investigation of the cause of the potential health risks," George Crave, president of the company, said in a statement posted on the company's website.

Calls to Crave Brothers were not immediately returned. The FDA and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture are investigating the company's processing facilities.

According to the FDA, five people between the ages of 31 and 67 have been hospitalized and one person has died as a result of the outbreak. One pregnant woman is believed to have suffered a miscarriage as a result of contracting the disease. Cases were reported in Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.

If ingested, the listeria bacteria can cause listeriosis, a rare and serious illness. The disease can cause fever, muscle aches, diarrhea or other gastrointestinal issues. In pregnant women it can cause miscarriages or stillbirths.

Older people, pregnant women, newborns or people with weakened immune systems are at the highest risk for contracting the disease and make up 90 percent of listeria infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

In 2011 a listeria outbreak related to tainted cantaloupes sickened 147 and killed 33 people.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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