Listeriosis leads to 2 miscarriages in Chicago area

Recalls of food contaminated with listeria are fairly common. Today, it’s sandwiches in Western Canada and frozen dough in Israel.

Also today, a reminder of why information about listeria needs to be rapidly, widely and creatively distributed.

Three pregnant Hispanic women in Chicago and suburban Cook County tested positive for listeriosis after becoming ill in late November and December, according to a release from the Illinois Department of Public Health.

All three women reported eating different types of soft cheese, the release said. One woman delivered her baby, who also tested positive for listeriosis, but the other two suffered miscarriages.

"It is very important that pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems avoid eating foods that are more likely to contain the Listeria bacteria, such as soft cheeses — including Brie, feta and Mexican style soft or semi-soft cheese — unless the product clearly states it is made with pasteurized milk," Dr. Damon state director of public health, said in the release.

Pregnant women are about 20 times more likely than other healthy adults to get listeriosis. About a third of all reported cases in Illinois happen during pregnancy. Infection during pregnancy may result in spontaneous abortion during the second and third trimesters, or stillbirth.