Health Team

Officials Warn Pregnant Women About Tainted Food

Posted December 18, 2007

— Two North Carolina women miscarried recently and a third went into premature labor after eating food contaminated with Listeria bacteria, state public health officials said Tuesday.

Officials suspect a fourth case.

The three confirmed cases involved Hispanic women and occurred after Thanksgiving. Women in Durham and Mecklenburg counties miscarried, and a woman in Moore County delivered early but is recovering, officials said.

Another woman in Buncombe County also miscarried in the suspected case of Listeriosis, officials said.

All four women had consumed soft cheeses from various sources, prompting public health officials to caution pregnant women against eating soft cheeses, hot dogs, deli-style meats and prepared salads.

Listeriosis is a serious infection caused by eating food contaminated with Listeria bacteria. Symptoms include fever, muscle aches and sometimes gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea or diarrhea. If infection spreads to the nervous system, symptoms like headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance or convulsions can occur.

The disease primarily affects pregnant women, newborns and people with weakened immune systems, and outbreaks have been associated with consumption of unpasteurized milk and contaminated soft cheeses, vegetables and ready-to-eat meats.

"This is a tragedy which could have been avoided," State Epidemiologist Dr. Jeff Engel said in a statement. "Listeriosis can be prevented by avoiding unpasteurized milk and other potentially contaminated food, especially among vulnerable people."

Tests showed different bacteria strains were involved in the fours cases. Because a single product doesn't seem to be the source of the bacteria, public health officials issued a general Listeria warning.

Officials provided the following recommendations to avoid Listeriosis:

  • Avoid unpasteurized (raw) milk or foods made from unpasteurized milk.
  • Thoroughly cook raw food from animal sources.
  • Wash raw vegetables before eating.
  • Wash hands, knives and cutting boards after handling uncooked foods.
  • Consume perishable and ready-to-eat foods as soon as possible.

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  • fyiarp Dec 20, 2007

    Thanks, I was totally unaware of this bathtub cheese thing. I'm curious why one would buy it, pasteurized cheese from the store doesn't seem very expensive, unless it's a cultural thing.

  • NCGal Dec 19, 2007

    >>What's "bathtub cheese?"

    "The illegal products, known as "bathtub cheese," are a health threat because unlicensed manufacturers use raw, unpasteurized milk that can promote bacteria growth, according to health officials."

    It's especially harmful to pregnant women.

  • daisy Dec 19, 2007

    Cable, you are taking what was said in the article and jumping to conclusions. What fact in this article stated that the women are from..."Guatamala or some other 3rd world country" or that they are illegal in the 1st place. Your statement that most hispanics are illegal is based on what?? You are jumping to alot of conclusions.

    ptahandatum, I do apologize for getting on a soapbox. I was commenting about what people have posted so far on the article...not about the article itself. I have found that most of the people who make racist comments on here claim to be Christian. You are right, it is about the warning so more babies arent miscarried.

  • fyiarp Dec 19, 2007

    What's "bathtub cheese?"

  • Cable Dec 19, 2007

    And now we wait on the WRAL thought police to close the forum and bury the story.

  • Cable Dec 19, 2007

    Tehy be Rcaset and ingornat. And mysplenig is good. So lets see you ignore the facts of the story you call me ignorant so lets see the definition of ignorance. In a nut shell without knowledge Hmm ok I believe I quoted form the facts of the story so not ignorant there Hmm racest Hmm I could be black white hispanic and you would never know and my comments are not racest its fact, a majority of so called hispanics are illegel I dont see any raceism in that statment. But lets look at the story itself shall we 3 hispanic women had miscarried ok. From eat what they (Docters) believe from chees and processed meats ok. Now lets look at the demographics of it. 3 hispanic women No whould it be strange if it was a black woman a white woman and a hispanic? woman. Then if would be news worthy. Also why attack the way I spell everyone hits the wrong key now and then and get in a hurry when they type now and then. So you cant attack my statment so you attack my typing ability. Merry Christmas.

  • ptahandatum Dec 19, 2007

    "Those lost babies will be sitting in heaven come your judgement day." Here we go again with the part time pulpitless preachers of a certain religious denomination. Did the story say anything about religion at all? You folks get on me and others about being non-religious, and then you start with your own brand of religious nonsense. Stick to the story, please? Or, I can answer with some proper logic.

  • GT72 Dec 19, 2007

    Your comments are not RACEST.. they RACIST and IGNORANT. Also, you need to check your spelling.. and by the way.. Merry Christmass to you too!

  • NCGal Dec 19, 2007

    "All four women had consumed soft cheeses from various sources, prompting public health officials to caution pregnant women against eating soft cheeses, hot dogs, deli-style meats and prepared salads."

    Did they eat "bathtub cheese" which is illegal to sell?

    I lived on hotdogs through one pregnancy. Why are they considered a no no?

  • AKA PikeMom Dec 19, 2007

    If you have ever worked in Funeral Industry,you would know that Hispanics and blacks carry a VERY high rate of Miscarriages.Most Hospital Removals are of the 2 cultures.So,How do we know a bacteria caused this.They are Spanish,so they would be eating cheese anyway.(Burritos etc.) I think it's just a coincidence.