Hard boiled eggs produced by Georgia processor, Almark Foods, have been found to be contaminated by the deadly bacteria, Listeria. The multi state Listeria outbreak has claimed one fatality already in Texas.
The CDC is currently recommending that anyone that is at a higher risk of infection not purchase, nor consume any store bought or restaurant ordered hard-boiled eggs, or purchase or consume any other products that may contain hard-boiled eggs. This includes but is not limited to pregnant women and their newborns, adults ages 65 or older, and people with weakened immune systems, such as people with cancer or on dialysis.
All hard-boiled eggs that were recently purchased should be thrown out immediately, regardless of packaging, use by date or where they were purchased. The area where they were stored must be thoroughly sanitized, as well as any other surfaces that contacted the eggs. Follow these steps on cleaning your refrigerator, from the CDC.
What is Listeria?
Listeria monocytogenes is a bacterium commonly found in water, soil, and fecal matter. Humans are most likely to become infected after consuming foods that have been exposed to and are harboring the pathogen. Foods regularly found to cause listeria outbreaks are deli meats and unpasteurized dairy products.
“An estimated 1,600 people get listeriosis each year, and about 260 die. The infection is most likely to sicken pregnant women and their newborns, adults aged 65 or older, and people with weakened immune systems.” –CDC.gov
Listeria can cause fever and diarrhea similar to other foodborne germs, but this type of Listeria infection is rarely diagnosed. Just like any other food related pathogen, Listeria can cause the typical fever and diarrhea, and often, this type of infection will go undiagnosed.
An invasive Listeria infection, such as that in a pregnant woman, may cause flu like symptoms, such as fatigue and muscle weakness. The worst of this type of infection will often lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery, or life-threatening infection of the newborn.
Those with weakened immune systems may experience headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and even convulsions with fever and muscle aches, similar to the flu.
The incubation period, or timeframe before someone with invasive Listeriosis starts to feel symptoms, can be between one to four weeks after eating the food contaminated with Listeria.
Strangely, some people can go as late as a little over two months, seventy days, or the same night as they were exposed to the Listeria bacteria.