From early August 1998 through January 6, 1999, at least 50 illnesses caused by a rare strain of the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes, serotype 4b, have been reported to CDC by 11 states. Six adults have died and two pregnant women have had spontaneous abortions. Reported illness onset dates were during August 2-December 13, 1998. CDC and state and local health departments have identified the vehicle for transmission as hot dogs and possibly deli meats produced under many brand names by one manufacturer. This report updates the investigation of this outbreak.
On December 22, the manufacturer, Bil Mar Foods, voluntarily recalled specific production lots of hot dogs and deli meats that might be contaminated. CDC later isolated the outbreak strain of L. monocytogenes from an opened and a previously unopened package of hot dogs manufactured at the company’s plant in Zeeland, Michigan. In addition, a different strain of L. monocytogenes was isolated from unopened packages of deli meats produced at the same plant.
Recalled products bear the establishment numbers EST P261 or EST 6911. The establishment number appears on the outer edge of all packages. The affected products included hot dogs and deli meats with the brand names Ball Park, Bil Mar, Bryan Bunsize, Bryan 3-lb Club Pack, Grillmaster, Hygrade, Mr. Turkey, Sara Lee Deli Meat, and Sara Lee Home Roast brands. Institutions may have received recalled product under other brand names.
Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) may well be recalled too.