The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has just reported that 28 people have been infected with Listeria monocytogenes from contaminated, prepackaged caramel apples. Listeria monocytogenes is a bacterium that causes food poisoning and sometimes-fatal infections, usually in children, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems. Symptoms of infection include stiffness, nausea, headache, fever, and diarrhea.
Cases have been reported in 10 states: Arizona, California, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin. Five of the infected people have died — Listeria was established to have played a role in at least four of these deaths — and 21 more individuals have been hospitalized. Those who fell ill were interviewed and reported eating "commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples" before getting sick. The CDC is working to figure out which brands or kinds of prepackaged caramel apples are contaminated. As of yet, no caramel-apple makers have announced recalls. The CDC will release new information as its investigation unfolds.