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Three Dead After Kansas Ice Cream Poisoning

© AP Photo / Kim Johnson FlodinThis photo shows a container of Blue Bell ice cream Friday, March 13, 2015, in Dallas
This photo shows a container of Blue Bell ice cream Friday, March 13, 2015, in Dallas - Sputnik International
Health officials have traced back an outbreak of listeria in Kansas to ice cream patients were served in hospital.

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An outbreak of listeria in Kansas last year has been traced by health officials back to ice cream served at a hospital in the state, and have put together a list of ice cream products to be avoided by consumers.

Five patients became ill with listeriosis between January 2014 and January 2015 after being hospitalized for unrelated conditions at the same hospital, three of whom died from the infection, which primarily affects older adults, pregnant women, newborns and adults with weakened immune systems. 

According to a statement from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday, the patients fell ill after consuming milkshakes made with a single-serving of a product made by the Blue Bell ice cream brand, called "Scoops."

The manufacturer, Blue Bell Creameries, has withdrawn a number of products from sale which were manufactured using one of its machines on the production line at its factory in Brenham, Texas. "For the first time in 108 years, Blue Bell announces a product recall," said the company in a statement.

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"This withdrawal in no way includes our half gallons, quarts, pints, cups, three gallon ice cream or the majority of take-home frozen snack novelties," said the company, which added that it had pulled suspect products from the shelves, but warned that since ice cream products have a shelf life of two years, consumers should continue to be vigilant, and provided a list of products to avoid.

Listeriosis is a foodborne illness caused by Listeria monocytogenes, which unlike many other germs can grow even in the cold temperature of the refrigerator. Symptoms, which can begin from three up to 70 days after consuming the bacteria, include fever and muscle aches, sometimes preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms; almost everyone who is diagnosed has 'invasive' infection, in which the bacteria spread beyond the gastrointestinal tract. Infection is treated with antibiotics, but even with prompt treatment some cases can result in death. 

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