Listeria Outbreak Associated With Deli Meat and Cheese
16 people have been reported to be infected across 6 states resulting in one death and a pregnancy loss in an expecting mother who became infected.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reporting a Listeria outbreak in the United States that stretches across 6 states, 16 infected people and one death in Maryland, and a pregnancy loss after an expecting mother also became infected.
Federal officials are not exactly sure what the source of contamination. However, among 7 people with Listeria in New York, 5 bought sliced deli meat or cheese from at least one location of NetCost Market, a grocery store chain that sells international foods. People with Listeria from other states purchased deli meats or cheeses from other delis.
Investigators do not believe that NetCost Market delis are the only source of illnesses because some sick people in the outbreak did not shop at a NetCost Market. A contaminated food likely introduced the outbreak strain of Listeria into delis in multiple states.
The states that have seen people who have contracted Listeria include California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and Maryland.
Of 14 people with information available, 13 have been hospitalized. These people range in age from 38 to 92 years, with a median age of 74, and 62% are male. CDC warns that the number of cases may be more than what has been reported.
Investigators are using the CDC PulseNet system to gather DNA fingerprints of bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses. DNA fingerprinting is performed on bacteria using a method called whole genome sequencing (WGS).
WGS showed that bacteria from sick people’s samples are closely related genetically. This suggests that people in this outbreak got sick from the same food.
Samples from those infected were collected from April 17, 2021, to September 29, 2022. CDC warns that people at higher risk of severe Listeria to not eat meat or cheese from any deli counter, unless it is reheated to an internal temperature of 165°F or until steaming hot.