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Clark County man hospitalized with listeria after eating enoki mushrooms

Updated November 18, 2022 - 2:44 pm

A Clark County man was hospitalized for a listeria infection after eating enoki mushrooms, the Southern Nevada Health District said on Thursday.

The man has been released. His case is one of two under investigation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The other case, which also required hospitalization, is in Michigan, according to an investigation notice on the agency’s website.

Both of the infected people reported eating enoki mushrooms or eating at restaurants with menu items containing the mushrooms, according to the notice. The investigation indicates that the mushrooms are the likely source of the illnesses.

Representatives of the CDC and the health district said they could provide no further information on the Clark County case.

Listeria, formally known as listeriosis, is a foodborne bacterial illness that can be very serious in pregnant women, people older than 65 and those with weakened immune systems.

“If you are in any of these groups, do not eat raw enoki mushrooms,” the CDC says.

The disease can be fatal to unborn babies, newborns and people with weakened immune systems. Prompt antibiotic treatment can help curb the effects of listeria infection, according to the Mayo Clinic’s website.

Symptoms of a listeria infection include fever, chills, muscle aches, nausea and diarrhea.

If the listeria infection spreads to the nervous system, symptoms can include headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions. These symptoms can indicate bacterial meningitis, a life-threatening complication requiring emergency treatment, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Pregnant women typically experience milder symptoms, but the infection can still be life-threatening to unborn babies.

Symptoms of severe illness usually start within two weeks of eating food contaminated with listeria but may start as soon as the same day or as late as 10 weeks after, the CDC said.

Federal investigators are working to identify the specific brands of enoki mushrooms that might be contaminated with listeria, the health district said.

An outbreak linked to enoki mushrooms occurred in 2020, and since that time, several brands have been recalled.

Enoki mushrooms are white and have long, thin stems. They are often sold in a bunch with roots in sealed plastic packaging.

They are popular in Japanese, Chinese and Korean food and are often cooked in soups and stir-fried dishes, the CDC said. Cooking the mushrooms thoroughly will kill foodborne germs.

About 1,600 people get a listeria infection each year, according to the federal agency.

A few outbreaks are typically identified each year, though most cases are not part of recognized outbreaks.

Contact Mary Hynes at mhynes@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0336. Follow @MaryHynes1 on Twitter.

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