New Listeria Outbreak Linked to Deli Meat
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Ten people in three states became infected with Listeria monocytogenes, apparently after consuming deli, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday. They were all hospitalized and one person died.
No brand, retailer or supplier has been identified yet, but all nine health officials surveyed said they ate Italian-style meat such as salami, mortadella or ham. The meat was both prepackaged and bought at deli counters.
The diseases occurred in Florida, Massachusetts, and New York.
Delicatessen meat is just one food that has been linked in recent years to the outbreak of listeriosis, the disease caused by listeria bacteria. Other outbreaks involved soft cheese, ice cream, and frozen vegetables. "Unlike some other types of bacteria that cause foodborne illness, it can continue to grow at refrigerator temperatures," said James E. Rogers, Ph.D., director of food safety testing and research for Consumer Reports.
Listeriosis can cause a fever along with diarrhea, muscle pain or other gastrointestinal symptoms and headache. As the infection spreads to the nervous system, people can also experience a stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions. Symptoms can appear one day to four weeks after consuming a food containing bacteria.
The very old or young, and people with weakened immune systems, are more prone to listeriosis. So are pregnant women because the disease can cause miscarriages and stillbirths. The CDC says people in these risk groups should avoid deli meat entirely.
CR will update this article as more information becomes available. In the meantime, Rogers advises avoiding Italian-style cold cuts, especially if you live in any of the states currently involved in the outbreak.
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