A multi-state listeria outbreak has infected 28 people as of Dec. 18, four of whom died from the illness, according to a Friday release from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
There was one reported case of listeria in California, and that patient died, the California Department of Public Health confirmed. Officials were unable to confirm where the case occurred.
Listeria, a life-threatening infection, is caused by consuming food contaminated with a bacterium called Listeria monocytogenes. It primarily affects pregnant women, newborns, older adults and other people with compromised immune systems. Symptoms include fever, muscle aches and gastrointestinal problems. Of the 28 people who have come down with the illness, 26 have required hospitalization, according to the CDC. Listeria is treated with antibiotics.
The Food and Drug Administration has linked the current outbreak to the consumption of pre-packaged, caramel-coated apples, and is currently investigating specific brands and types to identify the source of contamination. There are currently no cases linked to the consumption of plain apples or caramel candy. The CDC recommends avoiding any commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples, including plain caramel apples as well as those containing nuts, sprinkles, chocolate or other toppings, until further information is provided.
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