December 3, 2022

Mystery Listeria Monocytogenes Outbreak Sickens 23 With One Death

A mystery Listeria monocytogenes outbreak has sickened at least 23 people in 10 states, and one person has died, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Twenty-two people have been hospitalized. The only clue so far is that most of the patients either live in or traveled to Florida about a month before they got sick.

Mystery Listeria Monocytogenes Outbreak Sickens 23 With One Death

The case count by state is: Colorado (1), Florida (12), Georgia (1), Illinois (1), Kansas (1), Massachusetts (2), Minnesota (1), New Jersey (1), New York (2), and Pennsylvania (1). The patient age range is from less than one to 92. Five people got sick during a pregnancy, and one illness resulted in a fetal loss. The person who died lived in Illinois.

Of the 22 people who provided information to investigators, 20 said they lived in or traveled to Florida before they got sick. Illness onset dates range from January 24, 2021 to June 12, 2022. This outbreak may grow, since it can take up to 70 days for the symptoms of listeriosis to appear after infection, and diagnosis and reports to officials can take three to four weeks longer.

The CDC says that if you are at higher risk for a Listeria monocytogenes infection and you live in or travel to Florida, or even if you don’t or haven’t, you should talk to your healthcare provider if you develop any symptoms. And all diagnoses of listeriosis must be reported to the health department.

A common food item has not yet been identified among people being interviewed. Investigators are using data from PulseNet to find people who may be a part of this outbreak. Whole genome sequencing showed that bacteria from patient isolates are closely related genetically, which means that they likely got sick from eating the same food.

To protect yourself, avoid foods that may be contaminated with this pathogen that are not heated before cooking. Those foods include raw milk, deli meats, cold cuts, refrigerated pates, soft cheeses, hot dogs, raw sprouts, and refrigerated smoked seafood. And know the symptoms of listeriosis so you can get treatment early.

Symptoms of listeriosis include a high fever, severe headache, muscle aches, and a stiff neck that are often preceded by diarrhea and nausea. Pregnant women may think they only have the flu, but this illness can cause stillbirth and miscarriage. If you do get sick, see your doctor.

Attorneys at the Pritzker Hageman Food Safety Law Firm

If you have been sickened with a Listeria monocytogenes infection, please contact our experienced attorneys for help at 1-888-377-8900 or text us at 612-261-0856. Our firm represents clients in lawsuits against grocery stores and food processors, and families in wrongful death cases.

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