Listeria in cheese from Austria killed six last year

Austria’s health ministry says contaminated cheese has killed six people.

The ministry said the deaths – four in Austria and two in Germany – occurred last year and were caused by listeria, an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people and others with weakened immune systems.

The ministry said the four Austrians who died were senior citizens.

The contaminated cheese was made in the southern province of Styria by Prolactal.

It issued a recall last month and said it had halted production until the case is cleared up.

In 2009, Austria recorded 45 listeria infections that led to a total of 11 deaths.