Public health officials in the United States have confirmed that ten people, all requiring hospitalization, are infected with an outbreak strain of Listeria according to reports from three states–Florida, Massachusetts, and New York.  One death in Florida is associated with the outbreak.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), and state health officials are investigating the multistate outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections linked to deli meats.

It is the second multistate outbreak of Listeria to be reported during 2020.  According to the CDC:

  • Epidemiologic evidence shows that deli meat is a likely source of this outbreak.
    • In interviews with 9 ill people, all reported eating Italian-style meats, such as salami, mortadella, and prosciutto.
    • They reported purchasing prepackaged deli meats and meats sliced at deli counters at various locations.
  • A specific type of deli meat and common supplier has not yet been identified.

Anyone who is pregnant, aged 65 years or older, or has a weakened immune system.  is at higher risk for getting sick with Listeria. If you are not in these groups, you are unlikely to get sick from Listeria.

Deli meats, also called lunch meat or cold cuts, can have Listeria bacteria. Avoid eating deli meats, unless heated to an internal temperature of 165°F or until steaming hot just before serving.

Take additional steps to prevent getting sick:

  • Clean
    • Wash your hands after handling deli meats.
    • Clean refrigerator shelves, kitchen countertops, utensils, and other surfaces that may have come into contact with deli meats. Listeria can survive in refrigerated temperatures and can easily spread to other foods and surfaces.
  • Separate
    • Don’t let juice from deli meats get on other foods, utensils, and food preparation surfaces.
  • Chill
    • Keep factory-sealed, unopened packages of deli meats in the refrigerator for no longer than 2 weeks.
    • Keep open packages and meat sliced at a local deli in the refrigerator for no longer than 5 days.

Call your healthcare provider if you ate deli meats and are experiencing symptoms of Listeria infection.

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