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4 dead, 30 hospitalized from listeria linked to recalled enoki mushrooms

The cases date back to 2016. In addition to the deaths, two pregnancies were lost.

Four people have been killed due to listeria linked to recalled enoki mushrooms. At least 36 people in 17 states -- dating back to 2016 -- have been sickened and 30 have ended up in the hospital, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The deaths happened in California, Hawaii and New Jersey. The CDC also says two pregnancies were lost.

The illnesses were reported in Arizona, California, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Virginia.

According to the CDC alert issued Tuesday, the illnesses linked to this go as far back as November 23, 2016, with the most recent sample taken on December 13, 2019. The CDC did not say why it took this long to make the connection to the recalled mushrooms.

Sun Hong Foods recalled the mushrooms on March 9. They come in 7.05-ounce, clear and green plastic packaging, according to the CDC. “Product of Korea” is labeled on the front of the packaging, and “Sun Hong Foods, Inc.” is labeled on the back underneath the bar code. They have UPC code: 7 426852 625810. They were sold under refrigerated conditions.

Enoki mushrooms are white with long stems and small caps.

Credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Sun Hong Foods enoki mushrooms

The CDC says symptoms of listeriosis vary depending on the person and part of the body affected. 

Pregnant women typically experience fever and other flu-like symptoms, such as fatigue and muscle aches. However, infections during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery, or life-threatening infection of the newborn.

For people who are not pregnant, symptoms can include headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions in addition to fever and muscle aches.

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The CDC says symptoms for invasive listeriosis usually start one to four weeks after eating food contaminated with Listeria. Some people have reported symptoms starting as late as 70 days after exposure. Others have reported symptoms the day they were exposed.

The CDC advises anyone with these recalled enoki mushrooms to throw them out and don't eat any foods made with them. Wash and sanitize any surfaces and containers they may have been in contact with using hot and soapy water, including thoroughly cleaning the refrigerator. 

The CDC also advises that pregnant women, adults over age 65 and people with weakened immune systems avoid eating any enoki mushrooms that say "Product of Korea." Also be sure to ask the restaurant you are dining at or your store to ensure they do not use enoki mushrooms labeled as "Product of Korea."