5 people have died and 21 others hospitalized from eating caramel apples infected with listeria. The CDC has issued a warning to not eat commercially produced, pre-packaged caramel apples. This includes those with other toppings, like nuts, chocolate or sprinkles.
Of the 28 victims, 26 were hospitalized and five of those people died, the CDC said, adding that listeriosis contributed to at least four of the deaths. Nine of the cases involved a pregnant woman or her newborn infant and three were among otherwise healthy children aged 5 to 15 years, the CDC said. According to the studies, 83% of the ill people interviewed reported eating commercially produced prepackaged caramel apples.
Those affected became ill between Oct. 17 and Nov. 27, the CDC said, adding that cases after Dec. 3 might not yet be reported.
Listeriosis is an infection that primarily affects older adults, pregnant women, newborns and people with weakened immune symptoms. Symptoms, which begin anywhere from three to 70 days after consuming the bacteria, include fever, muscle aches, headache, confusion and convulsions.
No illnesses related to the outbreak have been linked to apples that are not caramel-coated and are not prepackaged, or to caramel candy, the CDC said.
The states include Missouri and New Mexico, which each had five cases; Minnesota, Texas and Arizona, with four cases each; Wisconsin, with two cases; and Washington, California, Utah and North Carolina, with one case each.
In Minnesota, those who fell ill bought caramel apples from Supervalu Inc's Cub Foods, Kwik Trip and Mike's Discount Foods, which carried Carnival brand and Kitchen Cravings brand apples, state health officials said. These two brands are no longer being sold there, but health officials are concerned that people who bought them may still have them in their homes.