Outbreak Linked to Deli Meats

Health officials are investigating a Listeria outbreak tied to deli meats

(RxWiki News) You may want to take a break from the cold cuts for a while — at least until health officials determine the exact source of a Listeria outbreak tied to deli meats.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said it was investigating a multistate outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections that have been tied to deli meats. So far, 10 related Listeria cases and one death have been reported.

Cases have been reported in three states: Florida, Massachusetts and New York. All 10 people who reported cases were hospitalized, and one person in Florida died, according to the CDC.

Nine of the ill people reported eating "Italian-style" meats like prosciutto, salami and mortadella. These meats were both prepackaged and sliced at deli counters.

The CDC noted that officials had not yet determined the exact type of meat, brand or supplier tied to the infections.

Listeria is a bacteria that can cause symptoms like headaches, fever, muscle aches, stiff neck, confusion, convulsions and flu-like symptoms. Symptoms typically show between one and four weeks after Listeria exposure, although there have been reports of symptoms from between one and 70 days after exposure, the CDC noted.

Older adults, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems are at high risk of getting sick with Listeria infection. People who are not in these groups are unlikely to become very sick with Listeria.

If you are at high risk of Listeria infection, the CDC recommended the following steps:

  • Avoid deli meats unless they are heated to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Keep unopened, factory-sealed packages of deli meats in the fridge no longer than two weeks.
  • Keep opened packages and meats that were sliced at a deli counter in your fridge for no longer than five days.
  • Separate deli meats from other foods in the fridge. Don't allow the meats or their juices to touch other surfaces, utensils or foods.
  • Clean all utensils, surfaces and fridge shelves that might have come into contact with deli meats.
  • Always wash your hands after handling deli meats.

The CDC said it would continue to provide updates as this investigation continues. If you are concerned about your risk for Listeria infection, speak with your health care provider.

Review Date: 
November 5, 2020