(NEXSTAR) – One person has died and at least 22 people have been hospitalized in a listeria outbreak tied to Florida, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.
The cause of the cases is still unknown, according to the CDC, but the majority of the people either live in Florida or traveled to the state about a month before they started feeling symptoms.
The actual number of illnesses is likely higher because many people recover without medical care and a lab test. Confirmed cases of the strain date back to January 2021, but 16 of a total of 23 documented illnesses happened in 2022.
Of the states included in the count, Colorado, Kansas, Illinois, Georgia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Minnesota have confirmed one illness, while New York and Massachusetts have registered two each. In Florida, there have been 12 so far, according to the CDC.
The sick people range in age from less than 1 year old to 92 years of age, with the average age of 72. The death was reported from Illinois. Five of the cases involved pregnant women, one of whom lost her baby.
The CDC is asking anyone who recently traveled to Florida to talk to their healthcare provider.
A leading cause of food poisoning, listeria can cause serious illness and death, especially for at-risk people who are pregnant, 65 years and older or have a weakened immune system.
People usually start feeling sick about two weeks after consuming something contaminated by listeria, but symptoms can also start on the same day or as late as 70 days after contracting the bacteria. Common symptoms include diarrhea and fever, with the majority of people recovering on their own.
Public health officials have been interviewing the people who got sick to find a common food that they all might have consumed, but as of Thursday there was no known link.