CDC investigates new listeria outbreak with mysterious Florida link; 1 death reported

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – Investigators from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are looking into a new listeria outbreak that has a link to Florida, according to a news release from the public health agency Thursday.

According to the CDC, 23 people infected with the outbreak strain have been reported from 10 states. Nearly all of them either live in or traveled to Florida about a month before they got sick.

The news release said the significance of the Florida connection is unclear.

So far, one death has been reported, a person in Illinois, and 22 people have been hospitalized. Five people got sick during their pregnancy, and one illness resulted in a fetal loss, according to the agency.

The CDC has not identified a specific food source tied to the outbreak.

“Listeriosis is a serious infection usually caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes,” the CDC’s website says. “An estimated 1,600 people get listeriosis each year, and about 260 die.”

Pregnant women and their newborns, adults aged 65 and older and people who are immunocompromised are at higher risk for severe listeria infection. Symptoms include headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions, in addition to fever and muscle aches.

Symptoms typically begin within two weeks of eating contaminated food, but they may start as early as the same day or as late as 70 days.

People with questions are urged to contact their state’s health department.

About the Author:

Chris Gothner joined the Local 10 News team in 2022 as a Digital Journalist.