Three people have died after consuming milkshakes in Tacoma, Washington. This has prompted health officials to warn the public of a Listeria outbreak. Three others have been hospitalized. The culprit appears to be an improperly cleaned ice cream machine.
The ice cream machine at a Frugals restaurant, used to serve milkshakes, was discovered as the source for the outbreak. Listeria bacteria can affect people up to 70 days after consumption, the ice cream machine was in use through August 7th. Six individuals have been hospitalized between February 27th and July 22nd of this year. The use of genetic fingerprinting found the connection between the bacteria in the milkshakes to be the same strain as those hospitalized. Two survivors claim to have gotten the milkshake from the same Frugals.
Listeria symptoms include fever, muscle aches, and sometimes diarrhea. Other symptoms are headaches, confusion, convulsion, and other gastrointestinal problems. The disease tends to affect older adults, pregnant women, infants, and adults with compromised immune systems. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Listeria averages 1600 cases per year in the United States. Roughly 260 people die from the disease annually.
It is more than a little disturbing that proper cleaning techniques are still being skimped on after a worldwide pandemic. You’d think that cleanliness would be top priority for any and all food service restaurants at this point.
Anyone who had a milkshake or ate at the Tacoma restaurant between May 29th and August 7th and is showing symptoms is urged to contact a doctor. The health department has confirmed that no other Frugals restaurants are affected by the outbreak.