Bacteria found on a single production line in Blue Bell’s Brenham creamery has been linked to five illnesses, resulting in three deaths, that have occurred over the past year in a Kansas hospital. As a result, Blue Bell issued the first recall in the company’s 108-year history on Saturday.
The bacteria that was found on the production line in Brenham is called Listeria monocytogene, which is usually transmitted through contaminated food, especially dairy products. The illness it causes is called listeriosis, which developed in the five patients. The Blue Bell outbreak is the first one of 2015.
The five reported cases of listeriosis all occurred in a single hospital, Via Christi, in Wichita, Kansas, and all of the infected patients were older adults, a group at higher risk of severe listeriosis complications. Each of the affected patients was already in the hospital for unrelated issues, and symptoms of the bacterial infection started developing between January 2014 and January 2015, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control.