The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) believes deli meats are the likely source of a multi-state Listeria outbreak, which has sickened 10 individuals, according to a warning posted by the federal agency.
Cases in three East Coast states—Florida, Massachusetts, and New York—were reported by the CDC. All of the victims were hospitalized, and one person in Florida has since died.
Nine patients who were interviewed reported consuming Italian-style deli meats, such as salami, prosciutto, and mortadella. The meats, which were pre-packaged or sliced at deli counters, were sold at various retailers. A common supplier has not been identified as the possible source at this time. (Related: 21 Best Healthy Cooking Hacks of All Time.)
The ill individuals had a median age of 81 years old, and 80% were female, according to the CDC. Pregnant women and senior citizens have a higher risk of getting sick with Listeria, in addition to those with weakened immune systems, the agency noted. In women who are pregnant, flu-like symptoms may develop. Infections may have dire consequences, including premature delivery, miscarriage, stillbirth, and more.
Symptoms of a possible infection include confusion, convulsions, fever, headache, loss of balance, muscle aches, and stiff neck. Symptoms generally develop between one day and four weeks after exposure. However, some cases have been reported as early as the same day or as late as 70 days.
The CDC recommends that you avoid eating deli meats unless they're properly heated if you're in a high-risk group. Be sure to properly clean refrigerator shelves, as well as countertops, sinks, utensils, and any other surfaces that come in contact with deli meats. You can find more advice here.