California soft cheese linked to Listeria death in Ohio

A California company has recalled several brands of soft cheeses after they were linked to 24 illnesses around the country and a death in Ohio.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday that Karoun Dairies, Inc. has voluntarily recalled and stopped production of several cheeses, including those sold under the brand names Karoun, Arz, Gopi, Queso Del Valle, Central Valley Creamery and Yanni.

According to the CDC, almost two-thirds of those who became ill are of are of Middle Eastern or Eastern European descent or shopped at Middle Eastern-style markets. Most of those who fell ill reported eating Middle Eastern, Eastern European, Mediterranean, or Mexican-style cheeses.

The CDC said it has identified illnesses linked to the cheese as far back as 2010. The most recent illnesses were identified last month.

Karoun Dairies said in a release that none of its products have so far tested positive for listeria, but the company issued the recall after the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration informed it of a link to the illnesses.

The CDC said that five of the illnesses were in pregnant women, and one resulted in a fetal loss. Fourteen of the listeria illnesses were in California. The other illnesses were in Ohio, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Tennessee and Washington.

Listeria primarily affects the elderly, people with compromised immune systems, and pregnant women and their newborn infants. It can cause fever, muscle aches and gastrointestinal symptoms and can be fatal. It also can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, premature labor, and serious illness or death in newborn babies.

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