Enoki mushrooms linked to Listeria outbreak in two states: Public health officials

Enoki mushrooms have been linked to Listeria outbreaks in two states.

Listeria monocytogenes infections prompted a joint investigation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and public health and regulatory officials.

At least two people, one in Nevada and one in Michigan, have been infected with the strain since Nov. 15 and have been hospitalized, though the CDC says the actual number of infections is likely higher. “This is because some people recover without medical care and are not tested for listeria,” the CDC notes in its report.

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“In addition, recent illnesses may still go unreported because it usually takes three to four weeks to determine whether a sick person is part of an outbreak,” the CDC further notes.

Collected epidemiological and laboratory data from samples of patients in the period October 5 – October 10. 8, 2022 confirmed that listeria-contaminated enoki mushrooms make people sick. People who got sick reported eating enoki mushrooms or eating at restaurants with menu items that contained enoki mushrooms, according to Fox 17.

Researchers are working to identify specific brands of long-stemmed white mushrooms commonly used in Asian cuisines such as soups and stir-fries that may be linked to these illnesses.

One brand, Green Day Produce, recalled its packages of enoki mushrooms sold between September and October due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

This is the bacteria that causes Listeria infections, according to a report posted on the FDA website.

Listeria poses a threat to pregnant women, newborn babies, and older or immunocompromised individuals.

The enoki mushrooms were packaged in 7.05-ounce clear plastic and distributed nationwide to distributors and retail stores, according to the FDA’s released statement.

Consumers are urged to return the items for a full refund, the website said.

Shown here are fresh enoki mushrooms.
(iStock)

Listeria poses a threat to pregnant women, newborn babies, and older or immunocompromised individuals.

These are the people who are most at risk for complications, according to board-certified emergency medicine physician Dr. Fred Davis, associate chairman of emergency medicine at Northwell Health in Long Island, New York.

“In these [individuals] who are at risk, this can lead to massive infection, seen as sepsis or meningitis, which can lead to death,” Dr Davies said.

“Symptoms usually resolve with minimal intervention as long as a person can stay hydrated.”

He also said it could lead to pregnancy complications.

However, Davis noted that people with normal immune systems rarely develop invasive infections.

“For most people, the common symptoms of Listeria infection can be just diarrhea, but they can also include symptoms similar to many viral illnesses such as fever, body aches, nausea and vomiting,” Davis said.

“Symptoms usually resolve with minimal intervention as long as a person can stay hydrated.”

Dr. Aaron E. Glatt, chief of infectious diseases and hospital epidemiologist at Mount Sinai South Nassau Hospital in Long Island, New York, told Fox News Digital that it’s important to seek medical treatment as quickly as possible if you think you have you have a listeria infection.

“Listeria is a curable infection in most cases and, if diagnosed early and correctly, can be successfully treated with available antibiotics,” he said.

Two people were recently hospitalized, according to reports, due to listeria infections linked to enoki mushrooms.  The CDC says the number affected is likely higher.  Listeria is treatable in most cases, one expert said.

Two people were recently hospitalized, according to reports, due to listeria infections linked to enoki mushrooms. The CDC says the number affected is likely higher. Listeria is treatable in most cases, one expert said.
(iStock)

The CDC recommended that people call their health care provider immediately if they develop any symptoms of Listeria illness after eating enoki mushrooms.

Some symptoms include headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions, in addition to fever and muscle aches in those who are not pregnant, the CDC said.

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Pregnant women usually experience fever, fatigue and muscle aches, the agency added.

Listeria can cause pregnancy loss or premature birth and serious illness or death in newborns, the CDC also states.

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The agency advised pregnant women, those with weakened immune systems or those 65 or older not to eat raw enoki mushrooms.

The CDC also suggested that restaurants avoid serving raw enoki mushrooms and cook enoki mushrooms thoroughly to kill any food-borne germs.

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