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Three People From Texas Sick With Listeriosis, Linked To Blue Bell Products


Update April 9, 11:08 a.m.: Federal health authorities say three people in Texas have become ill with listeriosis, a foodborne illness that has recently been linked to some Blue Bell ice cream products.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says three people in Texas have the same strain of listeria previously found in five others at a hospital in Wichita, Kansas. Three of the five in Kansas died.

The CDC did not indicate when the people in Texas became ill or where they are.

Original post, April 8: Blue Bell Creameries is expanding its recall of products made at an Oklahoma plant after pints of banana pudding ice cream tested positive for listeriosis.

The Texas-based dairy company announced in a statement Tuesday that no illnesses linked to those pints have been confirmed.

The recall now includes the banana pudding ice cream pints and other products manufactured on the same line in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. The products were distributed to retail outlets across the nation.

The company issued a recall last month after ice cream contaminated with listeriosis was linked to three deaths at a Kansas hospital. The foodborne illness was tracked to a production line in Brenham, Texas, and later to a second line in Oklahoma. Blue Bell suspended operations last week at the Oklahoma plant.

Products under the recall:

  • Banana pudding ice cream pints
  • 3 oz. vanilla, strawberry and chocolate institutional/food service cups
  • Chocolate Chip Country Cookie
  • Great Divide Bar
  • Sour Pop Green Apple Bar
  • Cotton Candy Bar
  • Vanilla Stick Slices
  • Almond Bar
  • 6-pack Cotton Candy Bars
  • 6-pack Sour Pop Green Apple Bars
  • 12-pack no sugar added Mooo Bars
  • Other products manufactured in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

Sam’s Club, Kroger and H-E-B pulled Blue Bell products from store shelves as a precautionary measure. 

About Listeriosis

Listeriosis is a serious infection usually caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a person with listeriosis usually has fever and muscles aches, which is sometimes preceded by diarrhea. The bacteria usually spreads beyond the gastrointestinal tract. Symptoms can differ among those who are infected. Healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms, but the risks are higher for pregnant women.

From the CDC:

Pregnant women typically experience fever and other non-specific symptoms, such as fatigue and aches. However, infections during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery, or life-threatening infection of the newborn. For those who are not pregnant, symptoms can include headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions in addition to fever and muscle aches.

Listeriosis is treated with antibiotics. Some cases result in death, which is more likely in the elderly and those with other serious medical issues. 

Photo credit: .imelda/Flickr

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Former KERA staffer Krystina Martinez was an assistant producer. She produced local content for Morning Edition and She also produced The Friday Conversation, a weekly series of conversations with North Texas newsmakers. Krystina was also the backup newscaster for the Texas Standard.