Published: Friday, February 27, 2009

Unpasteurized cheese blamed for listeria, two miscarriages

Source of Article:

Herald staff

State health officials are warning consumers not to eat unpasteurized cheese after four women were diagnosed with listeria, a dangerous bacterial food-borne disease.

The cases involved four pregnant Hispanic women in Yakima, King and Klickitat counties whose cases of listeriosis may be linked to eating unpasteurized Mexican cheese.

Two of the women suffered miscarriages of their pregnancies, Donn Moyer, a state Department of Health spokesman said Thursday evening.

He said investigators are gathering information on the status of the pregnancies of the other two women.

Pregnant women and their newborns are 20 times more likely than healthy adults to get a listeria infection, according to health officials.

All cheese purchased legally in the United State must either be made from pasteurized milk or raw milk that has been aged for 60 days, said Steve Fuller of the state Health Department food safety program.

The cheese believed to be linked to the cases of the four women may either have been bought by someone selling it door to door or made by a family member, he said.


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