July 1, 2022 – A listeria outbreak that originated in Florida has killed one person and sickened almost two dozen, the CDC reported Thursday.

The affected people got sick from January 2021 to June 12, 2022, the CDC said, and “most of the sick people in this outbreak live in or traveled to Florida about a month before they got sick.”

So far, the federal agency has not identified a food source as the cause of the outbreak. Health officials are interviewing people about what foods they ate. Genetic testing shows that people in the outbreak probably became sickened by the same food, the CDC said.

The person who died lived in Illinois. Five people got sick during pregnancy, and one illness resulted in a fetal loss, the CDC said.

Twenty-three people were sickened and 22 hospitalized, the CDC said. Twelve people who got sick live in Florida, with New York and Massachusetts reporting two sick people each. Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania each had one sick person.

The sick people ranged in age from 1 to 92 years, with a median age of 72.

“The true number of sick people in an outbreak is likely higher than the number reported, and the outbreak may not be limited to the states with known illnesses,” the CDC said. “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.”

Listeria bacteria live in soil, water, dust, animal poop, and other substances. You can get sick if you eat food that carries them.

For most healthy people, the infection doesn’t pose much of a threat, even if it makes you sick for a day or two. But listeria is especially dangerous for pregnant women and their babies, people whose immune systems aren’t working right, and seniors.

Symptoms include diarrhea, nausea, achy muscles, and fever.