5 patients at Kansas hospital sickened by ice cream-related infection

Five patients at a hospital in Kansas developed listeriosis after eating ice cream from Blue Bell Creameries at the hospital, and three of those patients have died, according to the Kansas Department of Health & Environment.

The patients fell ill during their hospitalizations at Via Christi St. Francis Hospital in Wichita, Kan., for unrelated causes between January 2014 and January 2015, and the outbreak was discovered after two patients were found to have the same strain of listeriosis.

The hospital and Via Christi Health worked with KDHE to find the cause of the infection, which was determined to be pre-packaged ice cream from the Texas-based company. Four of the five affected patients had information available, and all four of them ate milkshakes made with ice cream from Blue Bell Creameries while at the hospital, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Via Christi was not aware of any listeria contamination in the Blue Bell Creameries ice cream products and immediately removed all Blue Bell Creameries products from all Via Christi locations once the potential contamination was discovered," a hospital statement reads.

The outbreak led the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to issue warnings about certain Blue Bell Creameries products. According to the FDA, Blue Bell Creameries has removed 10 products from the market.

Listeriosis is a life-threatening infection caused by eating food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, and usually older adults, pregnant women, newborns and people with weakened immune symptoms are affected, according to the CDC.

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