The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a warning on Friday, October 23 about a Listeria outbreak that has sickened at least 10 people across three states. The agency believes that the outbreak is caused by deli meats.

Due to the Listeria outbreak—a foodborne illness that can cause fever, muscle aches, and also diarrhea—ten people from Massachusetts, Florida, and New York were taken to hospitals, while one person died in Florida, after catching the infection.

As per the agency the deli meats, also known as lunch meat or cold cuts, were most likely the source of this outbreak, while nine people reported eating Italian-style meats—such as salami, mortadella, and prosciutto. But CDC has yet to identify the common meat or supplier as the source of the outbreak.

Listeria Outbreak

listeriosis
Diagnosis of Listeria Wikimedia commons

As reported, the median age of the victims of the outbreak was 81 and most of them were women. Even though it is unlikely to get extremely ill from the infection, people aged 65 or above and those with weakened immune systems, as well as pregnant women are at higher risk of becoming affected.

While the investigation is going on to identify the reason behind the recent Listeria outbreak, CDC advised people who are at extreme risk for infection to avoid eating deli meat if it is not thoroughly heated first. The health agency also asked to make sure that while storing the meat in the refrigerator, other foods are kept away and the surrounding surfaces are clean. "Call your healthcare provider if you ate deli meats and are experiencing symptoms of Listeria infection," said CDC.

The Infection

Listeria infection is known as listeriosis. The symptoms can vary from person to person and which body part is affected by the infection. If a pregnant woman gets affected by the infection, they can experience only fever and other flu-like symptoms, like fatigue and muscle aches.

In terms of other infected people, they can experience headaches, confusion, loss of balance, stiff neck, and convulsions in addition to fever and muscle aches. As per the CDC, "People with invasive listeriosis usually report symptoms starting one to four weeks after eating food contaminated with Listeria."

While it is unlikely for healthy people to get ill from listeria infection, as per the health experts, the disease can be fatal to unborn babies and newborns. But the infection can be cured by antibiotic treatment.