One person and an unborn baby have died from listeria, according to the Centers for Disease Control. A total of 16 people have become infected during the outbreak, which began in April 2021.
Meat and cheese from deli counters are what's making people ill, investigators found, though they haven't yet been able to identify specific products or delis that are contaminated. But five of seven people sickened in New York purchased sliced deli meat or cheese from a location of NetCost Market, a grocery chain with stores in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania that sells international foods.
Heads up if you’re about to pack your lunch: a listeria outbreak the CDC says is linked to meat or cheese from the deli counters. People who are pregnant, 65 or older, or have a weekend immune system are at greatest risk. #wcvb pic.twitter.com/ThLS7y6xjG— antoinette antonio (@antoinetteA) November 10, 2022
Including New York, there have been infections in six states, including Massachusetts, New Jersey, Maryland, Illinois, and California. The CDC cautions, though, that the outbreak is likely larger than indicated and may not be limited to the states with confirmed illnesses so far.
Demographic data collected by public health officials show 11 of the 13 people with ethnicity data have an Eastern European background or speak Russian, the CDC says. Those who were sickened ranged in age from 38 to 92 with a median age of 74, and 62% have been male.
Listeria monocytogenes infects about 1,600 people each year and is the third-leading cause of death from food poisoning in the U.S. The elderly, pregnant people and their newborns, and those with weakened immune systems are especially at risk for serious infection.
The CDC is advising anyone within those high-risk groups not to eat meat or cheese from any deli counter unless it's first heated to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit or until it's "steaming hot."