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article imageEight people now sickened by Blue Bell-linked Listeria outbreak

By Karen Graham     Apr 9, 2015 in Health
On Thursday, Dr. Brendan Jackson, a medical epidemiologist with the CDC said tests have confirmed that three people in Texas have a similar strain of Listeria monocytogenes as the strain previously found in five Wichita, Kansas hospital patients.
Three of the Wichita hospital patients have died, and health officials in Kansas say Listeriosis or listeria may have been a contributing factor in their deaths.
The three people in Texas were also hospitalized for unrelated health concerns when they developed Listeriosis. ABC News says the patients were hospitalized sometime between 2011 and 2014, according to the CDC. They became ill after consuming a 3-ounce cup of Blue Bell ice cream produced at the company's plant in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. The products were part of a recall, and the plant, one of four owned by Blue Bell Creameries, has been shut down.
According to the CDC, preliminary testing suggests the strain of Listeria monocytogenes found in the Texas patients is similar to the strain found in the Wichita, Kansas patients. But Dr. Jackson said further testing needs to be done before confirming the strains are the same. "We're continuing to monitor for additional cases and ensuring we're taking all actions needed to protect public health," he said.
The CDC has designated the Listeria cases as Cluster No. 1 consisting of the five Kansas hospital patients. Cluster No 2 is made up of the three Texas patients. The CDC is also studying three additional cases with similar genome sequencing of their Listeria strain. The patients came down with Listeriosis between 2010 and 2012.
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