Step away from the Charcuterie board! Especially if you are pregnant, have a weakened immune system, or are aged 65+. The CDC has issued a warning about deli meats and cheeses due to a Listeria outbreak.

Now, I have the Def Leppard song Hysteria in my head.

Centers for Disease Control Issues Warning

As soon as I read the words 'Deli meat and cheeses', I immediately wanted deli meat and cheeses. I don't want it with a side of Listeria, so I guess we will have cooked food tonight.

What Does Listeria Feel Like?

If you are generally in good health, you are not likely to get sick from Listeria. 

Symptoms of a severe illness usually start within 2 weeks after eating food contaminated with Listeria but may start as early as the same day or as late as 10 weeks after. You could experience headaches, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions, in addition to fever and muscle aches.

Listeria is Different for High-Risk Individuals

If you are pregnant, aged 65 or older, or have a weakened immune system due to certain medical conditions or treatments, you are considered high-risk.

  • Do not eat meat or cheese from any deli counter, unless it is reheated to an internal temperature of 165°F or until steaming hot.
    • This is because Listeria can grow on foods kept in the refrigerator, but it is easily killed by heating food to a high enough temperature.
  • Clean your refrigerator, containers, and surfaces that may have touched deli meat or cheese from the deli.
  • Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any symptoms of severe Listeria illness after eating meat or cheese from a deli:
    • People who are not pregnant may experience headaches, stiff necks, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions, in addition to fever and muscle aches.
    • Pregnant people usually experience only fever, fatigue, and muscle aches. However, Listeria can cause pregnancy loss or premature birth. It can also cause serious illness or death in newborns.
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Where Did it Begin?

Listeria spreads easily between food and the deli environment and can persist for a long time in deli display cases and on equipment. A contaminated food likely introduced the outbreak strain of Listeria into delis in multiple states. Investigators are working to identify any specific products or delis that may be contaminated with the outbreak strain.

Source: CDC / Listeria Q & A 

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