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CDC: Listeria Outbreak With Most Living or Traveling to Florida

The federal agency has reported 1 death and 22 hospitalizations stemming back to January of 2021.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported a Listeria outbreak yesterday with more than half of those striken either living in Florida or having traveled there prior to getting sick. Of the 22 people with information, 20 sick people reported living in or traveling to Florida in the month before they got sick, although the significance of this is still under investigation.1

There has been a spattering of individual cases in the northeast and midwest states, with 1 or 2 cases reported in affected states. The outbreak goes back to January 2021 and has seen an increase in 2022 with a reported 1-4 cases per month every month this year. CDC reminds the public and providers that this is a not a definitive number of cases as many people do not seek medical care and symptoms can resolve on their own.In addition, recent illnesses may not yet be reported as it usually takes 3 to 4 weeks to determine if a sick person is part of an outbreak.

The federal agency also said they have not identified a specific food item that is the source for the outbreak, but public health officials are interviewing people about what they ate in the month before they got sick.

According to the CDC, investigators are using the agency’s PulseNet system to identify illnesses that may be part of this outbreak. This CDC system manages a national database of DNA fingerprints of bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses. DNA fingerprinting is performed on bacteria using a method called whole genome sequencing (WGS).1

WGS has shown that bacteria from affected people’s samples are closely related genetically. This means that people in this outbreak likely got sick from the same food.1

Reference

Listeria (Listeriosis). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Reviewed June 30, 2022. Accessed July 1, 2022 https://www.cdc.gov/listeria/outbreaks/monocytogenes-06-22/details.html