health update

A Deadly Outbreak Of Listeria In Six States Has Been Linked To Deli Meat and Cheese

A total of 16 people have been infected including one death, according to the CDC.

 A deadly outbreak of listeria in six states has been linked to contaminated deli meat and cheese, t...
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It’s recommended when pregnant that if you’re craving some deli meat or cheese, it’s best to reheat the meat to a very hot temperature to make sure it’s cooked away any possibly bacteria. While some may think this is overboard and a little too cautious, a recent listeria outbreak might have some rethinking that.

At the same time, listeria can be dangerous or deadly to small children, the elderly, and those with other health complications.

A listeria outbreak in six states linked to contaminated deli meat and cheese has now turned deadly, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

A total of 16 people have been infected by the bacteria, and 13 have been hospitalized. One death has been reported in Maryland.

The CDC also shared the unfortunate outcome of another person who became ill while pregnant and lost their baby.

When investigating an outbreak like this, the CDC will collect as much information and data as they can to try to pinpoint where exactly the outbreak began as well as those at higher risk. As of November 9, seven listeria infections has been reported in New York, three in Maryland, two in Illinois, two in Massachusetts, one in California and one in New Jersey.

Those infected with the bacteria ranged in age from from 38 to 92, with an average age of 74. About 62% of the infections were in males.

According to the CDC, of the 13 people with ethnicity information available, 11 are of Eastern European background or speak Russian.

While the number of people reported to be sick seems low enough to not cause major concern, the agency does want the public to know that the number of people actually infected could be much higher. “The true number of sick people in this outbreak is likely higher than the number reported, and the outbreak may not be limited to the states with known illnesses,” the CDC added.

Once the CDC had collected the data from those infected, investigators found that five of the seven people infected in New York purchased sliced deli meat or cheese from at least one location of NetCost Market, a chain of stores that typically sells international foods.

However, the CDC did note that NetCost Market was not the only location of the illness. Infected people in other states reported buying meats or cheeses from other delis.

Deli meat and cheeses are a common source for a listeria outbreak. People at high risk of severe illness or immunocompromised persons — such as pregnant people and the elderly — should not eat meat or cheese from any deli or deli counter without first reheating it until it is “steaming hot,” the agency suggests.

According to the CDC, pregnant woman are 10 times more likely to get a listeria infection, and the odds are even higher for Hispanic pregnant people, where the risk bumps up to being 24 times more likely to get listeria.

Pregnant people infected with listeria usually experience only fever, fatigue, and muscle aches. However, listeria can be extremely harmful to the developing fetus, at times resulting in pregnancy loss or premature birth. It can also cause serious illness or death in newborns.

If infected, most listeria infections are treated with antibiotics.

Read the CDC’s guidelines to Listeria infection and prevention here.