Each year, the Centers for Disease Control receives reports about roughly 600 cases of listeria. While that's considered rare, the CDC takes the outbreaks extremely seriously and infection with listeria monocytogenes has been on the list of diseases that must be reported to authorities since 2001. That's because listeria can be fatal in many cases even with early treatment with antibiotics. Those with weakened immune systems, pregnant women and older adults are more vulnerable.
Last year was a big year for listeria with four multi-state cases. Here's a look at some recent outbreaks:
Blue Bell has added its banana pudding ice cream to its list of recalled products. The company shuttered its Oklahoma plant recently after eight people were hospitalized in Texas and Kansas after consuming its products. Three of the patients subsequently died. Full list of recalled Blue Bell products.
Sabra voluntarily pulled 30,000 cases of hummus from stores nationwide after finding that a random sample pulled from a Michigan retail location contained listeria. Full list of recalled Sabra products.
In early January, Bidart Bros. recalled Granny Smith and Gala apples after environmental tests revealed listeria at the company's packing facility. Thirty-five people were infected in 12 dates and 34 of those people were hospitalized. The CDC said the bacteria was responsible for at least three of the seven deaths. The outbreak was especially devastating because 11 of the people falling ill were women who were pregnant or newborn infants. One woman lost her baby. A Seattle food safety attorney filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Safeway grocery store chain at the height of the outbreak over the death of an 81-year-old woman who purchased one of the apples from the store.
The deadliest outbreak in 90 years took place in 2011 and involved fruit from a single cantaloupe farm in Colorado. It killed 29 people and caused one woman to miscarry. CDC officials said that if the cause hadn't been isolated as quickly as it had twice as many people may have been infected.