The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is investigating a Listeria outbreak in Florida that has so far caused 22 hospitalizations.
As of 8th July, health authorities have recorded a total of 23 illnesses, including one death, in Florida due to the recent Listeria outbreak. According to CDC’s investigation details, the cases have been reported across 10 states. However, twelve of the people are residents of Florida and nine reported travelling to Florida before getting sick. Five people contracted the illness during pregnancy, and one reported fetal loss due to the infection. Furthermore, the sick range in age from less than 1 to 92 years.
The cases first began to appear in January of last year. Although no new illnesses have occurred since 30th June ’22, officials believe that the true number is likely much higher. Any recent cases may not yet be reported due to the long incubation period and it usually takes 3-4 weeks to identify if people are part of an outbreak. Moreover, many people do not undergo testing and recover without medications.
Ice Cream Recall
As per the latest developments, the Listeria outbreak has been linked to Big Olaf Creamery ice cream. The company has recalled all flavours of its ice cream with expiration dates through 30th June.
The Florida Department of Health is still investigating the outbreak and is also looking into other ice cream brands as a possible source of infection. For now, CDC is recommending people to not eat Big Olaf Creamery ice cream, and that restaurants and retailers not serve or sell the ice cream. Moreover, any remaining products in homes should be disposed of.
What is Listeria?
Causes by the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes, Listeria is a food-borne illness. Most people experience a mild form of food poisoning characterized by diarrhoea, fever, and stomachache. Moreover, they may recover without any need for medical care. However, immunocompromised individuals, the elderly, and pregnant women can have a serious and often life-threatening infection.
In severe infection, people can experience severe headaches, stiff neck, confusion, convulsions, and loss of balance. Pregnant women typically complain of a flu-like illness with fatigue and muscle aches. However, Listeria infection during pregnancy can result in stillbirth, premature birth, miscarriage, and infection in the newborn.
Deli meats are a common source of infection. However, dairy products made from unpasteurized milk can also cause the disease. Previous outbreaks have resulted from contaminated hot dogs, soft cheeses, and cantaloupes.