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1 dead, nearly two dozen sickened in listeria outbreak linked to Florida

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At least 23 people from across the U.S. have been sickened in a listeria outbreak which may have originated in Florida, federal health officials reported Thursday. One person has died, and another suffered a pregnancy loss. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that cases have been reported in 10 states. All of the patients either live in Florida, or traveled there about a month before getting sick. The exact source of the outbreak is unknown. One person in Illinois died after contracting the disease, the CDC said. Five of the people were pregnant, one of whom lost the fetus.

Listeria, a bacterial infection caused by eating contaminated food, is most dangerous to those who are pregnant, people over 65, and those with compromised immune systems, the CDC said. It has a fatality rate of 20%, according to the agency, and also causes fetal loss in 20% of cases among pregnant patients. Symptoms include fever, diarrhea and nausea, according to the Mayo Clinic.

If you are at high risk and experiencing these symptoms, particularly if you have recently traveled to Florida, the CDC says to contact your healthcare provider.There are about 1,600 listeria cases reported annually in the U.S., the CDC said. Earlier this month, the Food and Drug Administration announced that cheeses produced by a Kansas City, Missouri, company were recalled in nine states because of a possible listeria contamination.

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