Chael Sonnen has fought more fights than he can count, but nothing could prepare him for the fight he has been facing over the past week, and the tragic ending that it came to.
According to MMA Fighting, the former UFC fighter and his wife Brittany welcomed their baby girl Blauna Dian Sonnen 10 weeks early last week on August 12 in Portland, Oregon. Brittany had reportedly contracted listeria, which caused Blauna’s premature delivery, and following her birth, Blauna also contracted the disease. At the time Chael said, “She’s in a battle and we are prepared to fight.”
Although Blauna fought hard, her little body wasn’t able to battle off the disease, and on Wednesday, August 17, she passed away.
Rest in Peace Blauna Dian Sonnen. Gave it everything she had. Can’t imagine the pain Chael and Brittany are in. Love you guys.
— FrontRowBrian (@FrontRowBrian) August 17, 2016
“I am very sad to confirm the passing of Chael Sonnen’s baby daughter, Blauna Dian Sonnen,” Sonnen’s MMA rep told FOX411 following the newborn’s death. “An investigation is underway as to how Brittany and Blauna were infected with Listeria. We are informed that two food product recalls occurred earlier this year in the Northwest region due to Listeria.”
Sonnen’s rep added, “The family hopes to prevent any other families from contracting the disease. Representatives for the Sonnen family have already communicated with local, state and federal agencies.”
My condolences and prayers go towards the Sonnen family tonight after the passing of their baby daughter. Heartbreaking.
— Jeremy Botter (@jeremybotter) August 17, 2016
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The rep continued by explaining that the Sonnen family has asked for privacy during this difficult time as Brittany continues to battle the disease. Chael and Brittany have another child, a son named Thero, who was born in 2015.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), listeria, also known as listeriosis, is “a serious infection usually caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes.” Although anyone can become infected with listeria, it generally affects “older adults, pregnant women, newborns, and adults with weakened immune systems.” According to FoodSafety.gov, people with the following diseases are also at an increased risk of contracting listeria:
- HIV/AIDS or other autoimmune diseases
- End-stage renal disease
- Liver disease
— Surface Shield (@Surface_Shield) August 8, 2016
The symptoms of listeria vary from person to person, but generally include fever and muscle aches, along with diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms. Pregnant women, who are 20 times more likely to become infected, typically experience “fever and other non-specific symptoms, such as fatigue and aches.” Non-pregnant persons infected with listeria may experience “headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions in addition to fever and muscle aches.”
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To prevent the spread of listeria, the CDC and FDA offer the following tips:
- Rinse raw produce thoroughly, scrub firm produce with a clean produce brush, dry produce with clean cloth, separate uncooked meats and poultry from vegetables, cooked foods, and ready-to-eat foods
- Keep kitchen clean and safe
- Cook meat and poultry thoroughly
- Store foods safely
- Choose safe foods
Pregnant women should avoid eating hot dogs, luncheon meats, cold cuts, and other deli meats unless they are cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees. They should also avoid eating “refrigerated pâté or meat spreads from a deli or meat counter or from the refrigerated section of a store.” Unless it’s made with pasteurized milk, pregnant women should not eat soft cheeses, including feta, queso blanco, queso fresco, brie, Camembert, blue-veined, or panela. Finally, pregnant women should not eat refrigerated smoked seafood.
For a complete list of listeria prevention tips, click here.
[Photo by Jared Wickerham/Staff/Getty Images]