The CDC Is Warning Of A Listeria Outbreak & They Can't Figure Out Where It's Coming From

Listeriosis cases have been identified in 10 different states already.

Desk Editor, Texas
An expert analyzing food contaminated with listeria in a laboratory. Right: Listeria.

An expert analyzing food contaminated with listeria in a laboratory. Right: Listeria.

A specific food product that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have not yet been able to identify is causing a listeria outbreak in different states across the United States.

Public health officials have been interviewing people who reported listeriosis to determine which foods they had before getting sick. As the investigation is still going on, to date, there has been a total of 11 reports of people infected with the outbreak strain of listeria, resulting in 10 hospitalizations across 10 different U.S. states.

Although a listeria infection is rare, the illness can be severe and even cause death.

"Listeria is especially harmful if you are pregnant, aged 65 or older, or have a weakened immune system due to certain medical conditions or treatments," the CDC states. "Other people can be infected with listeria, but they rarely become seriously ill."

Here’s what we know about this illness, according to the CDC.

What is the main cause of listeria?

Listeriosis is an infection caused by the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes. According to the CDC, people become ill after eating contaminated food.

The illness primarily affects pregnant people, older adults, babies, and patients with weakened immune systems.

What happens if you get listeriosis?

Listeriosis can cause different symptoms. The CDC says that fever, muscle aches and tiredness are some of them.

Additionally, people with a more advanced version of the illness, invasive listeriosis, meaning the bacteria has spread beyond the gut, present different symptoms depending on the person.

A pregnant person usually experiences fever and other flu-related symptoms, such as fatigue, and muscle aches. However, a listeriosis infection during pregnancy can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery, or life-threatening infections in the fetus.

Non-pregnant people usually experience a headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and confusion, loss of balance, or seizures, as well as fever and muscle aches.

Where is listeria most commonly found?

The CDC states that listeriosis is mostly caused by eating food products contaminated by listeria.

According to the CDC, there are around 1,600 cases of listeriosis every year in the United States.

Current outbreak cases have been identified in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Michigan, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Washington.

For more information about listeria, you can visit the CDC's official website.

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

Fernanda Leon
Desk Editor, Texas
Fernanda Leon is an Editor for Narcity’s USA Desk focused on Texas and is based in El Paso, Texas.
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