(AP) — The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued a food safety alert on Friday, Feb. 12 about a multi-state outbreak of Listeria infections linked to Hispanic-style fresh and soft cheeses.
Virginia is among the four states where cases have been reported. The other states are Connecticut, Maryland and New York.
All seven people who reported their illness needed hospitalization, but no one died, the CDC said. One of the cases is in Virginia, although they did not specify which region.
The true number of sick people in an outbreak is likely higher than the number reported, according to the CDC. That’s in part because some people recover without medical care and are never tested for Listeria.
The CDC, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and state officials are investigating this outbreak. They are trying to determine if there is a specific type or brand of Hispanic-style fresh and soft cheese that is making people sick. Since they have not made that link, there is no recall at this time.
The CDC is advising people at higher risk for severe Listeria illness to avoid eating Hispanic-style fresh and soft cheeses (like queso fresco) until there is more information is available.
If you are not at higher risk of severe illness, only buy soft cheeses with the word “pasteurized” on the label.
Listeriosis is a serious infection usually caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. For more information about Listeria, click here.