Science

Putting The Blue Bell Listeria Outbreak Into Perspective

10/2002
Dr. Balasubr Swaminathan; Peggy Hayes
Photographer: Elizabeth White

Electron micrograph of a Listeria bacterium in tissue.

<i>Listeria monocytogenes</i> is the infectious agent responsible for the food borne illness Listeriosis.  In the United States, an estimated 2,500 persons become seriously ill with listeriosis each year. Of these, 500 die.
10/2002 Dr. Balasubr Swaminathan; Peggy Hayes Photographer: Elizabeth White Electron micrograph of a Listeria bacterium in tissue. Listeria monocytogenes is the infectious agent responsible for the food borne illness Listeriosis. In the United States, an estimated 2,500 persons become seriously ill with listeriosis each year. Of these, 500 die.
Credit Dr. Balasubr Swaminathan; Peggy Hayes / CDC

The Shepherd Center's Dr. Ford Vox discussed the Listeria outbreak linked to contaminated Blue Bell products on ''A Closer Look.''

Texas ice cream manufacturer Blue Bell Creameries issued a recall of all of its products last week due to possible Listeria contamination.

Contaminated ice cream has been linked to three deaths in Kansas and the hospitalization of 10 more in four different states. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated the Blue Bell Listeria outbreak dates back at least five years.

The company reported it found listeria contamination in an expanded investigation of its factories.

Listeriosis is a serious infection caused by eating food contaminated with the Listeria bacteria. The bacteria causes 260 deaths and about 1,600 illnesses every year, according to the CDC.

Listeria outbreaks involving caramel apples, bean sprouts, and tofu have occurred over the past year.

Dr. Ford Vox with the Shepherd Center is a board-certified physical medicine and rehabilitation physician and a staff physiatrist. He discussed the dangers of Listeria contamination on “A Closer Look.”