OTTAWA – The federal government is investigating whether a Manitoba patient diagnosed with listeriosis is connected to an outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes from pre-packaged caramel apples made in the United States.

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OTTAWA – The federal government is investigating whether a Manitoba patient diagnosed with listeriosis is connected to an outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes from pre-packaged caramel apples made in the United States.

There are two cases of listeriosis in Canada right now, one in Manitoba and one in Ontario, that have the same genetic fingerprint as the cases seen in the U.S. One of those patients ate a caramel apple recently, while the other did not.

A listeriosis outbreak has been linked to caramel apples. The Happy Apples brand sold in Manitoba were recalled in December. The apples were packaged for use between Aug. 25 and Nov. 23 and Ottawa is warning most of these products will already have been purchased and be in people’s homes if they haven’t yet been eaten.

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A listeriosis outbreak has been linked to caramel apples. The Happy Apples brand sold in Manitoba were recalled in December. The apples were packaged for use between Aug. 25 and Nov. 23 and Ottawa is warning most of these products will already have been purchased and be in people’s homes if they haven’t yet been eaten.

At least one of the recalled products connected with this outbreak was sold in Manitoba: Happy Apples brand caramel apples, which were recalled by Health Canada on Dec. 24. The apples were packaged for use between Aug. 25 and Nov. 23 and Ottawa is warning most of these products will already have been purchased and be in people’s homes if they haven’t yet been eaten.

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been looking at an outbreak of listeriosis in the U.S. related to people eating Granny Smith and Gala apples from Bidart Bros.

As of Jan. 8, 32 people in 11 states were diagnosed with listeriosis in the U.S. and 31 had been hospitalized. Six people have died and listeriosis is known to have contributed to three of those deaths.

Bidart Bros. voluntarily recalled its apples last week after testing found its California packing facility was contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

Several manufacturers who used Bidart Bros. apples in their pre-packaged caramel apple products have also recalled their products.

Canada issued a recall for caramel apples in December and for Gala and Granny Smith apples from Bidart Bros., Jan. 7.

In Canada the Public Health Agency and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency are investigating the importation and distribution of products using Bidart Bros. apples in Canada. They are warning consumers not to eat and stores not to sell any products using Bidart Bros. apples. The apples may be sold under different brand names or in bulk.

If you are unsure whether apples you purchased are from Bidart Bros., call the store where you purchased them or throw them out using a separate plastic bag to try to prevent animals from consuming them.

If you touched these products, wash your hands in warm soapy water.

The apples may not look or smell bad but can still be infected with the Listeriosis monocytogenes that will make you sick.

Only some people who are exposed listeria will develop listeriosis.

In mild cases symptoms can start within 24 hours of consuming a contaminated product, but in more serious cases the incubation period can be from 21 to 70 days.

It can be treated with antibiotics, but early diagnosis is key.

Mia.rabson@freepress.mb.ca