U.S. health officials believe that deli meats and cheeses are to blame for a mystery new listeria outbreak that has hospitalised 13 individuals across six states, claimed one life, and caused one pregnancy to end in miscarriage.
Health experts identify deli meat and cheese as the outbreak’s likely sources, but the FDA is currently looking into it and has not yet identified them. Because of this, they are warning vulnerable populations against consuming those foods.
According to a CDC news release, “it is challenging for investigators to pinpoint a particular product as the source of outbreaks connected to deli meats and cheeses.” This is so because Listeria may survive for a very long period in deli display cases and on equipment in addition to spreading easily between food and the deli environment.
Products served in delis, such as cold cuts, hot dogs, pâtés, and cheeses, are covered by the notice. In California, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York, sixteen persons have fallen ill. The deceased was a Maryland resident.
The majority of those who come into touch with listeria won’t require medical attention and won’t be tested, according to the CDC, so the outbreak is likely considerably larger.
The CDC said beside a map indicating current case counts, “The true number of sick patients in this outbreak is likely larger than the number reported, and the outbreak may not be restricted to the states with confirmed illnesses.”
According to the CDC press release, pregnant women, those with compromised immune systems, and people 65 and older are more likely to contract listeria disease.
If you belong to one of these groups, the CDC advised against consuming meat or cheese from any deli counter unless it had been thoroughly heated to 165 degrees or scalding hot.
Health officials urged people in these groups to clean their refrigerators if they recently kept deli meat or cheese at home.
Listeria monocytogenes is the bacterium that causes the disease. When people consume food that has been infected with the bacteria, they may become ill. Listeria disease symptoms often occur within two weeks, although they can occasionally show up up to ten weeks later.
People who are not pregnant may experience symptoms such as headache, stiff neck, disorientation, dizziness, convulsions, fever, or muscle aches. Fever, exhaustion, and muscular aches are typically the only symptoms pregnant women feel, but the sickness is exceedingly severe and may even result in miscarriage.
Serious sickness may need hospitalisation of the patient.
According to the CDC, five of the affected seven people in New York who purchased deli meat or cheese from at least one NetCost Market supermarket store. After being notified by New York City health inspectors, one NetCost Market location in Brooklyn was said to have shuttered, undergone “deep cleaning,” and then reopened after “additional environmental testing did not reveal Listeria.”
The same store had a listeria incident in September 2022, according to the CDC, but no contamination was discovered following a thorough cleaning in that case.
Given that some of the affected patients in the outbreak did not visit a NetCost Market, the CDC stated that “investigators do not believe that NetCost Market delis are the only source of illnesses.”