An 87-year-old man from Norfolk County is the third elderly person to die in connection with drinking contaminated milk. Health officials are citing Whittier Farms, a dairy located in Massachusetts, as the source of the tainted milk. The other two people who died were also elderly men, ages 78 and 75. They were both Worcester County residents.
The three men had listeriosis, which is a bacterial infection that can be contracted from drinking tainted milk and raw foods and certain processed foods that are not properly cleaned or prepared. Two other listeria cases also being linked to the contaminated milk from the dairy involve pregnant women. One woman, 34, miscarried. The other woman, a 31-year-old Middlesex County resident, had the infection but delivered a healthy baby.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes listeriosis as a “serious infection that can be caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes.” Symptoms of listeriosis can include muscle pains, fever, diarrhea, nausea, balance problems, neck problems, confusion, and convulsions.
Newborn babies, pregnant mothers, the elderly, and other adults with weakened immune symptoms are the ones most susceptible to contracting listeriosis. A pregnant woman with listeriosis can end up miscarrying, delivering prematurely, or delivering a stillborn baby.
The contaminated milk from Whittier Farms is believed to have come from the dairy’s Shrewsbury plant, just 35 miles from Boston. Health inspectors are examining the dairy’s cooling and bottling machinery to try and determine the source of the contamination. Whittier Farms is family owned and operated and is known for delivering people’s milk in glass bottles to their doorsteps.
Some 2,500 people are afflicted with listeriosis every year, with 500 of these people dying from the infection.
Manufacturers and producers of food products must ensure that their food products are properly processed or prepared. If failure to do leads to injury or death, the injured party or surviving family members can have grounds for a products liability claim or a wrongful death lawsuit.
Bacteria-Contaminated Milk from Massachusetts Dairy is Blamed for 3 Deaths, Miscarriage, FoxNews.com, January 8, 2008
Infection tied to tainted milk kills a 3d man, Boston.com, January 8, 2008
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