The listeria lawyers at Simon & Luke are investigating a new listeria outbreak that has has killed two Texas citizens and sickened five more. The illnesses were spread across three counties so far: Bexar County (5), Travis County (1), and Hidalgo County (1).
Roger Sanchez, senior epidemiologist with the Metropolitan Health District, has reported that genetic serotyping has identified the identical strain of listeria monocytogenes in all the patients – most likely indicating that all were infected by the same food item. But because of the small number of infected people in the outbreak, and the dispersal of cases across such a wide area (two of the patients lived 300 miles apart) the source has thus far been difficult to pinpoint: “This is not a large outbreak. What made it bad is that it has infected people who are fragile, elderly people.”
Sanchez said the infected patients ranged from ages 66 to 93. All but one were hospitalized either before or during their infection.
The first illness was reported in January, the most recent May 6.
There have been several prior listeria outbreaks this year (deli meat, prosciutto, pork sausage, raw milk, queso fresco cheese), although none have been linked to the illnesses in Texas.
What is listeriosis?
Listeriosis is a serious infection caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. The disease affects primarily persons of advanced age, pregnant women, newborns, and adults with weakened immune systems. However, persons without these risk factors can also rarely be affected.
What are the symptoms of listeriosis?
A person with listeriosis has fever, muscle aches, and sometimes gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea or diarrhea. If infection spreads to the nervous system, symptoms such as headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, or convulsions can occur. Infected pregnant women may experience only a mild, flu-like illness; however, infections during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage or stillbirth, premature delivery, or infection of the newborn.
How does Listeria get into food?
Listeria monocytogenes is found in soil and water. Vegetables can become contaminated from the soil or from manure used as fertilizer. Animals can carry the bacterium without appearing ill and can contaminate foods of animal origin such as meats and dairy products. The bacterium has been found in a variety of raw foods, such as uncooked meats and vegetables, as well as in processed foods that become contaminated after processing, such as soft cheeses and cold cuts at the deli counter. Unpasteurized (raw) milk or foods made from unpasteurized milk may also contain the bacterium.
Listeria is killed by pasteurization and cooking; however, in certain ready-to-eat foods such as hot dogs and deli meats, contamination may occur after cooking but before packaging.
Simon & Luke Can Help
The Texas food poisoning lawyers at Simon & Luke are currently investigating this listeria outbreak. We are a Houston, Texas – based trial law firm with lawyers licensed to practice in all Texas counties and jurisdictions. We currently represent several families who have been sickened by listeria.
We have handled over 2000 food poisoning cases in the past three years alone, and have recovered over $400,000,000 for our clients. Ron Simon, our managing partner, is routinely interviewed by ABC, CNN, NBC, CBS about local and national food poisoning outbreaks. He has been featured in virtually every major newspaper in Texas and the United States.
If you or a loved one have tested positive for listeria, please call us toll free at 1-888-335-4901 or email Ron at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation on your legal rights. We are happy to answer any questions you may have, and will make sure that you and your family get the legal representation and recovery you deserve.