Listeria outbreak may be linked to Florida, CDC says

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A listeria outbreak that has sickened at least 23 people across 10 states may be linked to Florida, the CDC said this week. 

Of the 22 people who health officials have been able to track down, 20 of them reported living in Florida or traveling to the state in the month before they got sick, but the CDC noted that “the significance of this is still under investigation.”

An electron micrograph of a Listeria bacterium in tissue is seen in a 2002 image from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
(Reuters/Elizabeth White/CDC/Handout via Reuters)

Listeria, a foodborne illness, is usually caused by contaminated dairy, produce, deli meats, or smoked fish. 

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Symptoms, which include fever, fatigue, and muscle aches, typically start within one to four weeks of eating food contaminated with listeria. 

In the current outbreak, 22 people have been hospitalized and one person has died. Five of those who got infected were pregnant at the time, with one person reporting the loss of the fetus. 

Vials of raw sheep's milk are seen with bottles of substances used to check the milk for strains of Listeria and Salmonella before the milk is developed into roquefort cheese.

Vials of raw sheep’s milk are seen with bottles of substances used to check the milk for strains of Listeria and Salmonella before the milk is developed into roquefort cheese.
(Pascal Pavani/AFP via Getty Images)

The true number of illnesses is likely much higher, according to the CDC, as some people recover before seeking medical attention. 

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Health officials are still trying to identify the food that is the source of this outbreak. 

A listeria outbreak stemming from deli meats sickened at least 10 people and killed one in 2020. Another outbreak caused by precooked chicken put three people in the hospital and killed one last year. 

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