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

Listeria monocytogenes infections associated with enoki mushrooms have prompted a joint investigation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and public health and regulatory agencies.

At least two people, one in Nevada and one in Michigan, have contracted the strain since Nov. 15 and have been hospitalized, although the CDC says the actual number of people infected is likely higher.

“That’s because some people recover without medical attention and don’t get tested for listeria,” the CDC noted in its report.

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“In addition, recent illnesses may not yet be reported because it typically takes three to four weeks to determine if a sick person is part of an outbreak,” the CDC also noted.

Epidemiological and laboratory data from 10-5 Oct. 2022 confirmed that Enoki mushrooms infected with Listeria make people sick. The people who got sick reported eating enoki mushrooms or eating at restaurants with dishes containing enoki mushrooms, according to Fox 17.

Investigators are working to identify specific brands of the white, long-stemmed mushrooms typically used in Asian cuisines such as soups and stir-fries that may be linked to these diseases.

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

According to a report from the FDA website, it is the bacteria that cause Listeria infections.

Listeria pose a risk to pregnant women, newborns, and the elderly or immunocompromised.

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

Consumers are encouraged to return the items for a full refund, the site said.

Fresh enoki mushrooms are shown here.

Fresh enoki mushrooms are shown here.
(iStock)

Listeria pose a risk to pregnant women, newborns, and the elderly or immunocompromised.

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

“In which [individuals] who are at risk, it can lead to an overwhelming infection that is considered sepsis or meningitis and can lead to death,” said Dr. Davis.

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

He also said it can lead to pregnancy complications.

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

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

“Symptoms usually resolve with minimal intervention as long as one 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 see a doctor as soon as possible if you think you have having a listeria infection.

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

Two people have reportedly been hospitalized recently with Listeria infections linked to enoki mushrooms.  The CDC says the number of people affected is likely higher.  Listeria is treatable in most cases, an expert said.

Two people have reportedly been hospitalized recently with Listeria infections linked to enoki mushrooms. The CDC says the number of people affected is likely higher. Listeria is treatable in most cases, an expert said.
(iStock)

The CDC recommends that people call their doctor immediately if they experience symptoms of Listeria disease after consuming enoki mushroom.

Some symptoms include headaches, stiff necks, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions, as well as fever and muscle aches in nonpregnant women, the CDC said.

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Pregnant women typically experience fever, fatigue and muscle aches, the agency also said.

Listeria can cause miscarriage or premature birth in newborns, as well as serious illness or death, the CDC also said.

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The agency advised women who are pregnant, have a compromised immune system, or are over the age of 65 not to eat raw enoki mushrooms.

The CDC also suggested that restaurants not serve raw enoki mushrooms and cook enoki mushrooms thoroughly to kill any food-borne germs.

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