Health officials use new technology to track listeria illnesses linked to Blue Bell ice cream

Markets Associated Press

The government is relying on new technology and a bit of luck to track a listeria outbreak linked to Blue Bell ice cream products.

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Blue Bell recalled all its products this week as listeria was found in a variety of its frozen treats. The company's products have been linked to 10 illnesses, including three deaths.

Health investigators have been helped by a technology called whole genome sequencing that maps all an organism's DNA. That new technique helped federal and state officials realize the ice cream had likely made people sick since 2010.

It gives officials hope that future outbreaks can be tracked more quickly and accurately.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Dr. Robert Tauxe says genome sequencing gives health officials the power to track cold cases.