Contaminated Caramel Apples Linked to Dozens of Injuries and Multiple Deaths
Although sugary sweets like caramel apples are not necessarily the healthiest snack, most people probably do not expect that partaking of one of these tasty treats could put their life at risk. Public health officials recently issued a warning advising consumers to avoid prepackaged caramel apples because they have been connected to illnesses and fatalities in ten different states.
Public health officials report that packaged caramel apples have been linked to over two dozen illnesses and several deaths. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has received reports of 28 individuals who became ill with the same strain of listeria. Virtually all of those who were affected suffered symptoms severe enough that the victims had to be hospitalized. Five of these individuals reportedly died. Health authorities indicate four of the deaths were caused at least in part by listeriosis while the other death was caused by the strain of listeria traced to the caramel apples.
The CDC investigation into the contaminated caramel apples is "rapidly evolving." The federal agency has reported that 83 percent of people who were interviewed by the agency after becoming ill indicated that they consumed prepackaged and commercially produced apples prior to becoming sick. The agency is still attempting to determine which brands of apples have been contaminated and the source of infection of the apples.
The CDC has disclosed that the illnesses have occurred in the following states to date: California, North Carolina, Texas, Arizona, Utah, Missouri, Washington, New Mexico and Wisconsin. New Mexico and Missouri have suffered the highest number of illnesses. The two fatalities have occurred in California and Texas.
Listeria is extremely serious because outbreaks of the listeria usually cause more fatalities than pathogens like E. coli and salmonella. The pathogen is especially dangerous for expectant mothers because it can transferred to a fetus even when the mother is asymptomatic. The mother may experience preterm delivery, stillbirth or miscarriage. Three children infected with the disease also suffered meningitis, which poses a particularly serious concern to the CDC. Listeria does not usually cause this type of infection in healthy older children according to a CDC spokesman. The spokesman also indicated that kids were more likely to be exposed to the contaminated apples because kids are more likely to eat these sugary treats.
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