Listeria Outbreak: 10 Illnesses Due to Contaminated Deli Meat
According to the CDC, 10 illnesses have been reported due to deli meat contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. The ten illnesses were reported in three different states: Florida (1), Massachusetts (7), and New York (2). All ten victims of the outbreak have required hospitalization, and Florida has reported one death, though it has not been determined if the Listeria infection was the cause of death. The CDC is currently leading the investigation to determine if a specific type of deli meat or common supplier is the source of the outbreak. While interviewing nine of the victims, they determined all nine victims had consumed Italian-style meats, such as salami, mortadella, and prosciutto, both pre-packaged and sliced meats from various deli locations in the month before presenting symptoms.
According to national food safety lawyer Ron Simon: “It is entirely possible and probable for more infections to be reported due to the outbreak. As the public becomes more aware of the outbreak, consumers are more likely to recognize and report their symptoms, which can include typical food poisoning illness, but also symptoms of meningitis and, unfortunately, miscarriages and even still births. This last category is especially worrisome, and why the CDC warns women to exercise great caution when consuming deli meats when pregnant.”
The symptoms of Listeriosis, the infection caused by Listeria, can vary; however, the most common are fever, diarrhea, headache, stiff neck/muscle aches, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions. Listeria can be extremely dangerous for pregnant women and their unborn child, the weak or elderly, and young children. In pregnant women, listeriosis often presents as flu-like symptoms, such as a fever, muscle aches, and fatigue. Pregnant women are 10 times more likely to be infected with listeriosis than anyone else and the infection often results in a severe infection in the fetus and even the loss of the fetus. Symptoms of Listeriosis typically set in 1-4 weeks after consuming contaminated food; however, victims can experience symptoms as early as the same day of consumption, and as late as 70 days after consumption. If you believe you are suffering from a Listeria infection, contact your physician for the best course of treatment.