According to the CDC on September 27, 2012, a total of 18 persons infected with the outbreak-associated strain of Listeria monocytogenes have been reported from 12 states and the District of Columbia. The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: California (1), Colorado (1), District of Columbia (1), Maryland (3), Minnesota (1), Nebraska (1), New Jersey (3), New Mexico (1), New York (1), Ohio (1), Pennsylvania (2), Virginia (1), and Washington (1).  All 18 ill persons were hospitalized. Three deaths have been reported. Listeriosis contributed to at least one of these deaths. One fetal loss has been reported.

On September 10, 2012 (red line above), Forever Cheese, Inc. issued its first recall.  On September 14, 2012, Forever Cheese, Inc. issued an expanded recall of all lots and production codes cheese and issued a market withdrawal of all cheeses they received that were produced by the Italian cheese maker.  Marte brand Frescolina ricotta salata cheese may also have been referred to as Ricotta Frescolina Marte Tipo Toscanella or Ricotta Salata Soft (lot number T9425) during distribution.

We filed a lawsuit against Forever Cheese, the importer of Listeria-contaminated Marte brand Frescolina ricotta salata cheese that federal public health officials have determined is the source of a 15-person Listeria outbreak.  The lawsuit, which also names cheese distributor Peterson Company as a defendant, was filed in King County Superior Court on behalf of Seattle resident Merrill West Behnke.

The complaint alleges that Ms. Behnke consumed ricotta salata cheese on August 25, 2012 and fell ill with the first symptom of Listeria infection, a headache, on August 28.  The next day, Ms. Behnke began experiencing severe neck and back pains accompanied by a 102 degree fever.  Her husband took her to an urgent care clinic, where after a lumbar puncture and CT scan she was diagnosed with Listeria meningitis.  Although serum from a lumbar puncture the day of her admission tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes bacteria one week into her hospitalization, Ms. Behnke spent part of the 2 weeks she was hospitalized in the intensive care unit while physicians attempted to find the right antibiotic treatment regimen to combat her infection.  She was discharged from the hospital on September 13, and has continued to receive antibiotics 6 times daily since her discharge from the hospital.

We have been retained by a California family whose child was born prematurely.  This case has not yet been added to the CDC numbers.

Hopefully, the recall has been effective and the damage limited.