Pregnant women, seniors warned to avoid deli meat amid outbreak

Pregnant women, seniors warned to avoid deli meat amid outbreak

Due to an ongoing outbreak of listeria in the United States that has killed one person, affected more than a dozen others, and resulted in the miscarriage of a pregnant woman, federal health officials advise certain individuals not to consume any meat or cheese from any deli counters.

In an advisory released Wednesday on the agency’s website, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated, “You are at a higher risk for severe listeria disease if you are pregnant, older than 65, or have a compromised immune system due to certain medical illnesses or medications.”

“If you belong to any of these groups, do not consume meat or cheese from any deli counter until it has been reheated to 165 degrees Fahrenheit or until scalding hot.”

Six states are impacted

The warning comes as the CDC investigates an outbreak of listeria that has sickened 16 people, one of whom has died, in six states: California, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York. The CDC indicated that deli meat and cheese purchased at deli counters in numerous states are the likely origins of this outbreak.

Five of the seven afflicted New Yorkers purchased deli meat or cheese from at least one NetCost Market location, but authorities believe contaminated food was also sold at other delis.

The Brooklyn deli of NetCost Market was briefly closed for a thorough cleaning, but the outbreak strain was detected there again in September. After thorough washing, fresh testing failed to detect the bacterium, according to the agency.

According to the CDC, young people, the elderly, pregnant women, and those with compromised immune systems are the most susceptible to listeriosis infection.

Recent research from the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota indicates that deli meat is responsible for more than 90 percent of listeriosis illnesses in the United States.

The remainder, according to the experts, comes from ready-to-eat salads, cheeses, and frozen veggies.

In an analysis to be published in the December issue of the International Journal of Food Microbiology, the researchers predicted that the incidence of the potentially fatal foodborne illness will climb as Americans consume more prepared foods.


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