Outbreak of Listeria Cases Traced to Deli Meats


Of the nine victims interviewed by investigators, all had eaten Italian-style cold cuts, such as salami, mortadella and prosciutto, that were prepackaged or purchased at the deli. A specific type of meat or supplier has not yet been identified, however.

The CDC recommends avoiding eating deli meat unless it is heated to an internal temperature of 165 or until steaming hot just before serving.

Symptoms of a listeria infection

Listeriosis, the infection caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes, most often causes sickness in adults 65 and older, people with weakened immune systems, and pregnant women and newborns. Symptoms may include headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, fever, muscle aches and convulsions.

People usually report symptoms one to four weeks after eating food contaminated with listeria. But some people have reported symptoms as late as 70 days after exposure to as early as the same day of exposure.

Listeriosis is diagnosed when a bacterial culture grows the germ from a sample of body tissue or fluid, such as blood, spinal fluid or the placenta. It is treated with antibiotics.

About 1,600 people in the U.S. get listeriosis each year, resulting in about 260 deaths, the CDC estimates. Americans 65 and over are four times more likely to get a listeria infection than others.


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