WebMD News from HealthDay
March 16, 2015 -- A foodborne illness linked to ice cream products may have contributed to the deaths of three hospital patients in Kansas since late 2013, but did not cause the deaths, according to health officials.
Five patients at Via Christi St. Francis hospital in Wichita developed listeriosis after eating the ice cream products from the Blue Bell creamery in Brenham,Texas, and three of them later died, the Associated Press reported.
However, listeriosis did not cause the deaths, according to Kansas Department of Health and Environment spokeswoman Sara Belfry.
The names of the five patients who became ill were not released, but the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said they were older adults and three of them were women. The agency did not reveal the genders of the patients who died, the AP reported.
The patients became ill while hospitalized for unrelated causes between December 2013 and January 2015, but the reasons for their hospitalization can't be made public due to confidentiality laws, hospital spokeswoman Maria Loving said.
While in the hospital, four of the five patients had milkshakes made with a Blue Bell ice cream product called "Scoops" in the month before they developed listeriosis, the CDC said.
The Food and Drug Administration says listeria bacteria were found in samples of Scoops, as well as in other products from the Blue Bell creamery. The company has recovered all recalled products from all 23 states where they were sold, as well as those in storage, Blue Bell spokeswoman Jenny Van Dorf told the AP.
A machine linked to the contamination has been shut down permanently, she said.
Kroger has removed Blue Bell products from 860 of its more than 2,600 stores and is alerting customers through its recall notification system, a spokesman said.
Blue Bell and similar facilities are inspected monthly and the company's facility in Brenham is operating in compliance with food safety laws, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services, the AP reported.
Listeriosis is a potentially deadly infection that poses the greatest risk to older adults, pregnant women and newborns, and people with weakened immune systems.
source : Listeriosis Not Cause of Kansas Deaths: Officials