Third Man Dies From Tainted Dairy Products

A third man who consumed products from a central Massachusetts dairy that were tainted with bacteria has died, the state health department said this week.

The 87-year-old man fell ill in November and died Thursday, said Donna Rheaume, spokeswoman for the state department of public health.

The number of people sickened by listeria bacteria also rose to five after health officials linked a 31-year-old woman's listeriosis, diagnosed in September, to products from the diary.

The infection was detected while the woman was in the hospital to deliver a baby, and "both mother and child are doing well," Rheaume said.

Health officials say the bacteria entered Whittier Farms' milk supply after it was pasteurized. Two of those victims, a 78-year-old man and a 75-year-old man, died in June and October. Another elderly man and a pregnant woman survived, although the woman miscarried.

The Shrewsbury dairy remains shuttered, and its owners are cooperating with officials trying to determine the source of contamination, Rheaume said. The farm delivered milk mostly to homes in the Worcester area.

Managers of the family-owned dairy have said in a statement that they were "extremely concerned about the situation and will be working to obtain the results of the investigation."

Listeriosis can kill babies and people with weakened immune systems and cause miscarriages. Symptoms include fever, headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea.