Listeria outbreak linked to Sarasota area ice cream company

Published: July 4, 2022 9:11 AM EDT
Updated: July 4, 2022 9:42 AM EDT
Bowl of ice cream. Stock photo by Krisztina Papp

The CDC is investigating an outbreak of listeria infections linked to Big Olaf Creamery-brand ice cream, which is only sold in Florida.

The manufacturer, located in a Sarasota area Amish community, has voluntarily contacted retailers to recommend against selling its ice cream products until further notice. The CDC says consumers who have the ice cream at home should throw it away and clean areas, containers, and utensils that may have touched the product.

Interviews with 17 infected people found that 14 had reported eating ice cream and six remembered eating Big Olaf Creamery brand ice cream or eating ice cream at locations that might have been supplied by Big Olaf Creamery.

So far, 23 people have been infected across ten states, and “nearly all” lived in or traveled to Florida in the month preceding infection,” the CDC said in an earlier press release. Twelve of the infected lived in Florida.

One death has been reported in Illinois from the infection strain, and 22 people were hospitalized. Five people infected were infected during pregnancy, and one fetal loss has been reported.

Typically, listeriosis affects older adults, pregnant women, infants, and adults with compromised immune systems.

Pregnant women are approximately 10 times more likely to get listeriosis. Pregnant Hispanic women are 24 times more likely to get listeriosis than other people.

Symptoms include fever and muscle aches, and sometimes diarrhea or other gastrointestinal problems. Other symptoms are headache, confusion, and convulsions.

Almost everyone diagnosed with listeriosis has an infection that has spread beyond the gastrointestinal tract. Infections during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery, or infection of the newborn.

Listeriosis can be treated with antibiotics.