CDC investigating Multistate Outbreak of Listeria Infections Linked to Deli Meats

Atlanta, GA–10 people infected with the outbreak strain of Listeria have been reported from Florida, Massachusetts, and New York.

All 10 ill people were hospitalized. One death has been reported from Florida.

Epidemiologic evidence shows that deli meat is a likely source of this outbreak.

In interviews with 9 ill people, all reported eating Italian-style meats, such as salami, mortadella, and prosciutto. They reported purchasing prepackaged deli meats and meats sliced at deli counters at various locations.

A specific type of deli meat and common supplier have not yet been identified.

Advice to Consumers and Retailers:

  • People who are at higher risk for getting sick with Listeria should avoid eating deli meats, unless heated to an internal temperature of 165°F or until steaming hot just before serving.
  • Clean: Wash your hands after handling deli meats. Clean refrigerator shelves, kitchen countertops, utensils, and other surfaces that may have come into contact with deli meats.
  • Separate: Don’t let juice from deli meats get on other foods, utensils, and food preparation surfaces.
  • Chill: Keep factory-sealed, unopened packages of deli meats in the refrigerator for no longer than 2 weeks. Keep opened packages and meat sliced at a local deli in the refrigerator for no longer than 5 days.
  • Retailers should follow USDA-FSIS best practicesexternal icon for controlling Listeria contamination in deli areas

About Listeria:

  • Listeria can cause different symptoms, depending on the person and the part of the body affected.
  • Pregnant women typically experience only fever and other flu-like symptoms, such as fatigue and muscle aches. However, infections during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery, or life-threatening infection of the newborn.
  • People who are not pregnant may experience symptoms including headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions in addition to fever and muscle aches.
  • People with invasive Listeria infection usually report symptoms starting 1 to 4 weeks after eating contaminated food. Infection is treated with antibiotics.

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