CHICAGO (WGN) — One person is dead from a multi-state listeria outbreak tied to deli meats and cheeses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC says the outbreak has infected at least 16 people across six states – California, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York – hospitalizing at least 13. The outbreak is believed to have impacted more people and states than confirmed, officials explain, because some people recover without needing medical care or being tested for listeria.
Samples were collected from the ill individuals between April 2021 and September 2022. They range in age from 38 to 92 years old.
“One person got sick during their pregnancy, resulting in pregnancy loss,” the CDC writes. “Additionally, one death has been reported from Maryland.”
Investigators have linked the cases in this outbreak to meat and cheese from deli counters, which have been found to be contaminated with listeria. They haven’t yet identified any specific products or delis that may be contaminated with the outbreak strain, the CDC explains.
Eleven patients reported eating meat or cheese from a deli counter when interviewed.
Five individuals from New York reported buying sliced deli meat or cheese from at least one location of NetCost Market, a grocery store chain known for selling international foods. Last year, local health officials found the outbreak strain on samples from one of the chain’s delis in Brooklyn and Staten Island. Investigators believe NetCost Market delis aren’t the only source of illnesses.
No recalls have been issued as part of this outbreak.
Listeria, which can be caused by ingesting contaminated deli meats, soft cheeses and raw sprouts (among other contaminated items) can produce flu-like symptoms and confusion. Pregnant people, newborns and the elderly are at the highest risk of complications or death, according to the CDC.
Individuals who are pregnant, 65 years or older, or have a weakened immune system, are at the highest risk of becoming severely ill from listeria.
Even if you are not among those groups, there are still steps you can take to protect yourself, like reheating deli meats and cheeses to 165 degrees and cleaning your refrigerator, containers, and surfaces that may have touched those foods.
Symptoms of listeria illness include fatigue, fever, neck stiffness, or muscle aches.
The CDC is still investigating a listeria outbreak linked to select brie and camembert cheeses impacting six states.
WJBF’s Joey Gill contributed to this report.