CDC: Deadly listeria outbreak tension 10 states linked to ice cream

PROVIDENCE, RI (WPRI) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has tied a Florida-based ice cream company to a multistate listeria outbreak.

The CDC believes Big Olaf Creamery, a brand of ice cream only sold in Florida, may be to blame. Of the 17 people interviewed by the CDC, 14 reported eating ice cream before experiencing symptoms.

Six of those 14 people, according to the CDC, mentioned Big Olaf Creamery by name, or a location known to serve that specific brand of ice cream.

Nearly two dozen people from 10 states have been sickened, according to the CDC, with the bulk of them being reported in Florida. Other cases were reported in Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

The first cases were reported back in January, but have continued through June, when two more people became ill.

In total, 23 people were sickened, and all but one were hospitalized. One person died, and one of the sickened pregnant patients (of which there were five) lost their fetus, according to the CDC.

The CDC said Big Olaf Creamery is contacting all known retail locations and businesses to recommend against selling their ice cream until further notice. Anyone who purchased Big Olaf Creamery ice cream is urged to throw it away.

Big Olaf Creamery said in a statement that while the company is cooperating with the ongoing investigation, “it is only speculation” that their ice cream is the culprit.

“Our brand has not been confirmed to be linked to these cases,” the statement reads. “Nothing has been proven.”

Listeria is one of the most dangerous forms of food poisoning. Symptoms usually start one to four weeks after eating contaminated food, but can start as soon as the same day. Those symptoms include fever, muscle aches, nausea and diarrhea, among others.

While it can be treated with antibiotics, listeria is especially dangerous to pregnant women, newborns, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.

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