A deadly listeria outbreak has sickened 23 people, with one dead and one woman suffering a miscarriage leaving the CDC scrambling to find its origin.
Those who have fallen victim to the harsh bacteria reside across ten states. What is interesting about their cases is that most of them traveled to Florida about a month before becoming ill. This has led the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to turn their attention to food sources in the state, though they’ve yet to identify what sparked the illness’s spread. The first cases began in January of this year and have continued through June.
Listeria is the most severe form of food poisoning and affects nearly 1,600 people in the United States annually. Symptoms can include fever, muscle aches, headaches, and loss of balance, typically beginning within two weeks of consuming food contaminated with listeria. Foods commonly linked to listeria include lunch meats, hot dogs, smoked fish, soft cheese, and unpasteurized milk.
Older people, pregnant women, newborns, and individuals with weakened immune symptoms are at the most heightened risk for complications or death. The patient who died lived in Illinois, and five of those infected were pregnant women. Their conditions, aside from the mother who miscarried, remain unknown.
The Food and Drug Administration announced earlier this month that cheeses produced by a Kansas City, Missouri, company had been recalled in nine states due to potential listeria infection. It is unclear if they are exploring this as a possible source of the current outbreak.