The Grapevine

Listeria Outbreak 2019: Deli Meats And Cheeses Spreading Illness In 4 States

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a warning that deli meats and cheeses are linked to the listeria outbreak happening in four states of the country right now. The disease already affected eight people and there’s even one reported death because of it.

The patients are from Michigan, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. The latest death caused by listeria was reported in Michigan.

CDC said samples from meat sliced at a deli and from deli counters in multiple stores across the said states contain listeria. But the public health institute has yet to determine the common supplier of the products linked to the outbreak.

"Infection with listeria is an important public health problem in the U.S.," Robert Glatter, an emergency medicine doctor at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said. "In general, the disease mainly affects older persons, newborns and adults with weakened immune systems. Pregnant women are about 10 times more likely than the general population to develop an infection with listeria."

Hospitals reported the first six affected patients between 2016 and 2018, followed by two more cases in early 2019, according to WebMD.

CDC said it found the link between the products and the spread of the disease through analysis of the two recent cases of listeria. However, the institute noted no notice has been released advising consumers to avoid eating products prepared at delis or for stores to stop selling deli-sliced products.

Consumers can reduce the risk of being infected by cleaning refrigerators, kitchen countertops, utensils and other surfaces that might be exposed to the products.

Listeria Infection

Affected people may show symptoms like headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions along with fever and muscle aches. Symptoms commonly appear one to four weeks after eating contaminated food. 

The people at high risk of the listeria infection are pregnant women and their newborns, adults aged 65 and older and people with weak immune systems. For these people, reduce consumption of lunch meats, cold cuts or other deli meats unless prepared with an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

To date, hospitals use antibiotics to treat listeria infection.