Listeria outbreak at fast-food restaurant claims three lives, three others hospitalized

A recent listeria outbreak at a family-owned burger restaurant in Tacoma, Washington, has tragically resulted in the deaths of three individuals. The Washington State Department of Health confirmed that all milkshake flavors sold at Frugals burger restaurant in Tacoma were contaminated with listeria bacteria. The outbreak led to six hospitalizations total, with those affected ranging in age from 40 to 79. Investigations revealed that the ice cream machines at Frugals Tacoma were not properly cleaned, leading to the presence of listeria. While the restaurant ceased using the machines on August 8, it is important to note that listeria can continue to affect individuals for up to 70 days.

The Washington State Department of Health has urged pregnant women, individuals aged 65 or older, and those with weakened immune systems who consumed milkshakes at Frugals Tacoma between May 29 and August 7 to contact their healthcare providers if they are experiencing symptoms. Listeria infection, also known as listeriosis, occurs when individuals consume food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. Symptoms of listeriosis include fever, muscle aches, fatigue, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, seizures, diarrhea, and vomiting.

The same strain of listeria was detected in all six individuals who were hospitalized between February 27 and July 22, according to the Washington State Department of Health. These individuals had pre-existing conditions that weakened their immune systems, making them more susceptible to the disease. Frugals Tacoma released a statement on their Instagram page expressing their deep sadness over the outbreak. As per the recommendation of the Pierce County Health Department, the restaurant chain has sent its milkshake equipment to an independent facility for thorough cleaning and sanitization. The equipment will then be retested for the presence of bacteria.

Frugals Tacoma has also taken the precautionary measure of sending testing samples from milkshake machines at its other locations for analysis. As the chain awaits the results, all milkshake machines have been temporarily shut down.

The listeria outbreak at Frugals Tacoma has had devastating consequences. The investigation into the outbreak is ongoing, and Frugals Tacoma is fully cooperating to make sure that every necessary measure is taken in order to prevent similar incidents in the future.