A mysterious listeria outbreak linked to one death and 22 hospitalizations has been linked to a brand of Florida ice cream, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Sunday.
The CDC said Big Olaf Creamery, an ice cream company based in Sarasota, Fla., had been linked to the illnesses after public health officials interviewed 17 people, 14 of whom said they remembered eating ice cream. ice before getting sick. Six of those people said they ate Big Olaf Creamery-branded products or from places that may have been supplied by the company.
The ice cream is only sold in Florida, and Big Olaf Creamery has voluntarily begun contacting retail outlets to recommend that they stop selling its products.
Health officials have advised anyone who has the products at home to throw them away and clean up any objects that may have touched them.
Big Olaf Creamery added on Sunday evening that it had cooperated with investigators, but said “nothing has been proven” that definitively links its products to the outbreak.
“At this time this is just speculation as this is an ongoing investigation, our brand has not been confirmed to be linked to these cases, I am not sure why only Big Olaf is mentioned and targeted,” the company wrote on Facebook. “We have been transparent and answered all their questions and provided them with all the information requested of us, as the health and well-being of the public is our first priority.”
The agency first said Thursday that it was looking for the source of a wave of illnesses linked to the potentially deadly bacteria, saying 23 people had been ill who lived in or had recently traveled to Florida. CDC investigators have appealed to the public to help understand what could be causing the listeriosis cases.
Listeria can be deadly, causing fever, vomiting and diarrhea. Symptoms usually begin within two weeks of eating contaminated food (although they can take months to appear), and pregnant women, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems are at particular risk of serious illness.
The only death linked to the outbreak was reported in Illinois, and the CDC said five pregnant women were sick. One of those illnesses resulted in fetal loss, the agency said.
Investigators added that the true number of cases linked to the latest outbreak was likely much higher, as some people can recover without medical attention.
The Huffington Gt