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More illnesses reported in outbreak linked to Big Olaf ice cream; investigation ongoing

The patient toll continues to increase in an outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections traced to Big Olaf ice cream.

There are now 25 confirmed patients in the outbreak, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Manufactured in Florida and originally thought to only be sold in that state, the agency is reporting that the ice cream was also sold to a location in Fredericksburg, OH.

One patient has died and a pregnant woman miscarried after eating the ice cream. Of the 25 patients, 24 have required hospitalization. Sick people have been reported in 11 different states.

Thirteen of the victims are residents of Florida and 10 reported traveling to Florida in the days before becoming ill. Illness dates range from Jan. 24, 2021, to June 24, 2022. Patients range in age from less than 1 to 92 years old. The CDC has used samples from patients and samples of ice cream along with a national database of strains of Listeria to determine that the sick people are all part of the single outbreak.

Patients have been identified in Colorado with 1, Florida with 13, Georgia with 1, Illinois with 1, Kansas with 1, Nebraska with 1,  Massachusetts with 2, Minnesota with 1, New Jersey with 1, New York with 2, and Pennsylvania with 1. 

Additional patients are likely to be identified because it can take up to 70 days after exposure for symptoms of Listeria infection to develop. Also, it takes three to four weeks for the reporting and testing process to confirm outbreak patients.

All flavors, lots, and expiration dates through 6/30/2022 of Big Olaf brand ice cream products have been recalled. Big Olaf brand ice cream was sold to consumers in plastic pint-size containers and plastic one-half gallon containers. The ice cream was sold to independent retail stores in plastic 2.5-gallon tubs.

State testing by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services showed Listeria monocytogenes in the Big Olaf production plant as well as in 16 of 17 flavors of its ice cream. The plant has been shutdown.

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