A family is suing the Big Olaf Creamery.By Casey Albritton

TAMPA, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – The fallout from a deadly listeria outbreak linked to a local ice cream company.

A family is suing the Big Olaf Creamery.

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“At some ice cream, within a couple of days she as sick, and she got sicker and was hospitalized, and unfortunately quickly died of brain swelling,” said foodborne illness lawyer, Bill Marler.

Marler is talking about 79-year-old Mary Billman, who visited a sarasota ice cream shop called Big Olaf Creamery on January 18.

“She unfortunately because of COVID-19, died alone in the hospital because her family was unable to visit her,” said Marler.

Marler says Billman started getting sick soon after she ate ice cream from the shop. The CDC confirmed on Saturday that 23 other people also got sick.

20 reported traveling to Florida and six reported eating Big Olaf Creamery ice cream.

“There was no question that we knew who the source of the illness was. We filed a lawsuit,” said Marler.

Big Olaf Creamery posted this statement in response to the CDC’s report:

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“6 out of the 23 patients mentioned having consumed Big Olaf Ice Cream, but nothing has been proven. We have been cooperating with the florida department of health, fdacs and the fda as soon as we were informed about the situation.”

“Listeria comes into problems with milk products,” said University of South Florida health expert, Dr. Jill Roberts.

The CDC said nearly all the patients lived in Florida or travelled there within a month of getting sick.

Dr. Roberts, says it’s likely the listeria originated from the ice cream shop.

“I highly doubt this was anything intentional. Most likely listeria was growing on a piece of machinery,” said Dr. Roberts.

She says machines need to be deep-cleaned and foods like ice cream and deli meats should be tested regularly for the bacteria.

“These things do keep safety in check,” said Dr. Roberts.

If you notice flu-like symptoms, a stiff neck, or a headache, contact your doctor immediately.

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“Listeria can go on to cause loss of balance, loss of coordination, convulsions and even death,” said Dr. Roberts.