3 Listeria Deaths Linked To Contaminated Ice Cream Machines

By Jason Hall

August 21, 2023

Fast food restaurant chain Ice Cream Machine
Photo: Getty Images

Three people have died and three others were hospitalized in relation to a Listeria outbreak linked to contaminated milkshakes sold at a restaurant in Tacoma, Washington, health officials announced via CNN.

The outbreak was reportedly caused by ice cream machines at a Frugals restaurant that weren't properly cleaned, the Washington State Department of Health confirmed in a news release shared on Friday (August 18). Listeria effects can last up to 70 days after consumption and the unsanitary machines were reported to have been used through August 7, the department said.

The six individuals were reported to have been hospitalized between February 27 and July 22 with genetic fingerprinting from the bacteria found to be inside the milkshakes matching the strain of Listeria that caused the illnesses. Two of the three survivors specifically mentioned consuming a milkshake from the same Frugals location in Tacoma prior to experiencing symptoms.

Listeria symptoms commonly include fever and muscle aches, as well as cases of diarrhea or other gastrointestinal issues, headache, confusion and/or convulsions. No other Frugals restaurant locations are suspected to have caused or been affected by the outbreak, according to the health department.

An estimated 1,600 cases of listeriosis are caused by the Listeria monocytogene in the United States annually, which includes an estimated death toll of 260 patients per year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Elderly people, pregnant women, infants and adults with compromised immune systems typically experience the most severe symptoms of Listeria.

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