Three people have died from listeria after an outbreak of the infection at a fast food diner in the US.
Bacteria was discovered in the ice cream machine at a Frugals restaurant in Tacoma, Washington, affecting all the milkshake flavors sold by the venue, the state’s health department said.
It added the outbreak caused three deaths and left six people in hospital – with the ages of those hospitalized between 40 and 79.
All six had the same strain of listeria, and “had conditions that made their immune systems less able to fight disease,” the department reported.
The ice cream machines at the family-owned diner were not cleaned properly, officials said, adding no other restaurants in the chain are affected.
Though the machine was last used on 8 August, the health department said listeria can still affect people up to 70 days later.
Local officials have said anyone who has been pregnant, is aged over 65, or has a weakened immune system, and drank a milkshake at the diner between 29 May and 7 August, should contact a doctor if they develop symptoms – which include fatigue, headaches, seizures and vomiting.
Frugals Tacoma posted a statement on Instagram over the weekend, saying: “Last week, Frugals was notified by the Pierce County Health Department (PCHD) of an investigation into a possible listeria outbreak at our Tacoma Frugals locations.
“Since that time, we have been working with PCHD to identify and contain the source of listeria after a test on a milkshake machine in our Tacoma store tested positive for the bacteria.”
It said it was “deeply saddened” by the deaths, adding it was “heartbroken and deeply regret any harm our actions could have caused”.