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posted: 2/22/2014 10:58 AM

1 dead, babies ill from listeria linked to cheese

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Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- One person has died and three newborns have become ill in an outbreak of listeria linked to Hispanic-style cheese.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday that the death was in California. Seven additional illnesses were in Maryland.

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All the Maryland victims had reported consuming soft or semi-soft Hispanic-style cheese that they purchased at different locations of the same grocery store chain. Listeria was later detected in a sample of cuajada en terron, or fresh cheese curd, purchased at that chain.

The CDC withheld the name of the grocery store, as they often do in investigations.

The agency said the cheese was "likely produced by" Roos Foods of Kenton, Del., and repackaged by the grocery store chain. The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is warning people not to eat any cheeses produced by Roos Foods.

Roos Foods cheese is sold under brand names Santa Rosa de Lima, Amigo, Mexicana, Suyapa, La Chapina, and La Purisima Crema Nica.

Three of the illnesses were in newborns, the CDC said. Two of the illnesses were mothers of two of the ill newborns. It is unclear if the death was one of the newborns.

Listeria is a serious illness that includes fever and muscle aches, often with other gastrointestinal symptoms. It is especially dangerous to pregnant women because it easily passes through to the fetus.

The illnesses were diagnosed between August and November of last year, but the CDC said there may be more. The investigation is ongoing, the agency said.

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