CT Dept. of Public Health issues health alert for listeria outbreak in ‘Hispanic-style fresh and soft cheeses’

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) has issued a Public Health Alert for a listeria outbreak in ‘Hispanic-style fresh and soft cheeses.’

The Connecticut DPH announced it after receiving an alert from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

According to DPH officials, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), along with the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and state and local partners, are investigating a multi-state outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections that may be related to fresh and soft Hispanic-style cheeses (like queso fresco, queso blanco, and queso panela).

“We are informing local health departments of this federal investigation and urging Connecticut residents, restaurants and food retailers to be aware of the potential risks,” said DPH Acting Commissioner Deidre S. Gifford after receiving the federal alert.

The FDA reports that one Connecticut resident has become ill and hospitalized potentially from the outbreak. Residents in Maryland, New York, and Virginia have also been infected. A total of seven people have reported their illness.

The FDA said there is no specific type or brand of cheese that has been confirmed as the source of illness. Of the four people interviewed by the FDA, three reported eating at least one type of Hispanic-style fresh and soft cheeses, and all three reported eating queso fresco.

This FDA investigation is still in its preliminary stages, and there may be additional products impacted by this outbreak.

The FDA is asking people who are pregnant, are aged 65 or older, or have a weakened immune system, to not eat ‘Hispanic-style fresh and soft cheeses’ until they identify a specific type or brand that is making people sick.

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