According to a new CDC investigation, a listeria outbreak linked to deli meats and cheese has caused multiple infections and at least one death across six states.
Most of the infections were in New York state with others reported in Maryland, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Illinois, and California. The reported death occurred in Maryland. For the New York cases, five of the seven infected individuals reported buying deli meat at a NetCost Market, the same grocery store that was linked to another bacterial outbreak in October 2021.
The CDC is investigating, along with the Food and Drug Administration, to identify delis and specific products that are linked to the outbreak.
The number of infected is likely much higher than the reports show since some people recover at home and do not report their illness.
According to the CDC, listeria is most likely to sicken newborns, pregnant people, adults over age 65, and those with weakened immune systems. Typical symptoms of intestinal distress include diarrhea and vomiting and can be mild. However, listeria can also become an invasive illness, meaning that it can spread beyond the intestines. Symptoms can take up to 2 weeks after consuming the contaminated food.
Symptoms of invasive illness include fever, flu-like symptoms, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and seizures. Those who are healthy but pregnant tend to experience milder symptoms. Invasive listeriosis death rates are nearly 1 in 20 people.
Doctors can diagnose listeriosis via bacterial culture. Intestinal illness may not require treatment, but invasive listeriosis are typically given antibiotics.