The death of a Connecticut resident has been linked to a Listeria outbreak connected to cheese from a creamery in New York, according to the Connecticut Department of Public Health.
The U.S Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local officials have identified Ouleout cheese from Vulto Creamery of Walton, New York, as the likely cause of the outbreak.
State officials said Thursday that there have been six confirmed cases of Listeria monocytogenes in Connecticut, Florida, New York, and Vermont. The people sickened by the cheese range in age from 0 to 89.
Two of the six cases have been fatal, including a Connecticut resident.
Vulto Creamery began contacting customers to return any purchased Ouleout cheese on March 3 after the FDA alerted them to Listeria-positive Ouleout cheese sample and issued a formal recall including their Miranda, Heinennelli, Willowemoc cheeses as well.
Officials from the state Department of Public Health said the soft raw milk cheeses were distributed nationwide, with most being sold at retail locations in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic States, California, Chicago, Portland, and Washington D.C.
State officials said Whole Foods grocery in Connecticut had received cheese from Vulto to sell in its Fairfield shop and initiated its own recall.
Specialty cheese shops in Connecticut who carry Vulto Creamery cheeses might have received recalled product and should check their inventory, according to the Department of Public Health.
Retailers and customers who have recalled cheese in their establishments or homes should throw the cheese away and not eat or sell it.
Display cases or refrigerators where potentially contaminated product was stored should be washed and sanitized, as well as any cutting boards or cheese knives used to cut, serve, or store the product. Hands should be washed with warm water and soap following the cleaning and sanitization process.
Listeriosis is a rare but serious illness usually caused by eating food contaminated with the bacteria called Listeria monocytogenes.
Anyone who experiences fever and muscle aches, sometimes preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms, or develops fever and chills while pregnant after eating any of the recalled products, should seek medical care.
Symptoms can appear from a few days up to a few weeks after consumption of the contaminated food.