Health investigators link Listeria outbreak to Florida

A total of 23 cases of listeriosis, a bacterial infection usually caused by eating foods contaminated with listeria, have been recorded in 10 states, resulting in 22 hospitalizations and one death. The sick people ranged in age from less than 1 year to 92 years old, with a median age of 72 years. Illnesses were reported between January 24 and June 12.

The CDC investigation initially determined that 20 of the infections were reported by people who resided in Florida or who had traveled to Florida in the month prior to their illness. However, the food source of the outbreak remained a mystery. But as more information was gathered, investigators determined that 18 of the victims had eaten ice cream before they fell ill, and 10 recalled eating Big Olaf ice cream or eating ice cream in a place provided by Big Olaf. Other states involved in the outbreak include Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

Meanwhile, some Vidalia onions distributed in several states by A&M Farms and marketed under the Little Bear brand were recalled on June 30 over concerns they may have been contaminated with listeria. However, the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have not linked the recalled onions to the outbreak investigation, and no illnesses have been linked to consumption of the recalled onions. The recalled Little Bear brand of Vidalia onions were sold at select Wegmans stores in Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania, as well as select Publix stores in Florida and Georgia.

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