Listeria is a type of infection one can get after contact with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes, according to the CDC. This type of bacteria tends to live on deli meats and cheeses, but it is unclear where the origin of this most recent outbreak came from, as there have been 16 cases across six states, including California, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts. As a result, 13 people have been hospitalized, and one pregnant patient lost the pregnancy due to the infection.
“The true number of sick people in this outbreak is likely higher than the number reported, and the outbreak may not be limited to the states with known illnesses,” the CDC reported. “This is because some people recover without medical care and are not tested for Listeria. In addition, recent illnesses may not yet be reported.”
It is recommended that those who are pregnant, aged 65 or older, or have a weakened immune system avoid eating deli meats and cheeses unless they are reheated. Anything that came in contact with these products should also be washed, as they could be carrying the bacteria.
Five of the cases came from the products of one New York NetCost Market deli, which also saw another outbreak of listeria last year that resulted in the deli closing down for a deep cleaning. It then saw its first case of infection this September.
An infection can begin anywhere between the day a person comes in contact with the bacteria to up to 10 weeks later. Symptoms include headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, convulsions, fever, and muscle aches.