The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said last week that a multistate Listeria outbreak that began in 2021 is now over after 16 cases and 1 death.
The CDC said in an investigation notice that the outbreak was tied to meat and cheese from deli counters, including a deli in Brooklyn, New York, where five case patients bought sliced deli meat and cheese. Whole genome sequencing showed that bacteria from patient samples were closely related genetically, indicating that people got sick from the same food source, and identified the outbreak strain in sliced meat and environmental samples from the Brooklyn deli. But no single food source was identified.
Deli meats and deli-sliced cheeses are known sources of Listeria, which can spread easily to hands, deli slicers, and other food preparation surfaces and survive and grow in refrigerators.
Case patients were from New York (7), Maryland (3), Massachusetts (2), Illinois (2), Delaware (1), California (1), with samples collected from April 17, 2021, to September 29, 2022. The CDC said the true number of cases is likely higher.
Sick people ranged in age from 38 to 92 years, with a median age of 74. Of the 14 patients with healthcare information, 13 were hospitalized. One person got sick during pregnancy, resulting in pregnancy loss.
Listeriosis can cause a variety of symptoms, such as fever and diarrhea, similar to other foodborne pathogens. It can be especially serious and even deadly in pregnant women, seniors, and those with weakened immune systems. Symptoms typically start within 2 weeks after eating food contaminated with Listeria.
The CDC said that even when there are no outbreaks, people who are pregnant, aged 65 and older, or have a weakened immune system should reheat deli meat and deli-sliced cheeses to an internal temperature of 165°F