The U.S. Centers for Disease Control says that deli meats have been linked to a deadly Listeria outbreak that has sickened ten people in Florida, Massachusetts, and New York, and caused one death in Florida.
The ill people have reported eating Italian-style meats, such as salami, mortadella, and prosciutto.
People have reported purchasing both prepackaged deli meats and meats sliced at deli counters.
The CDC investigation is ongoing to determine if there is a specific type of deli meat or common supplier linked to illness.
Because Listeria can cause severe infections, the CDC is warning people who are at high risk to avoid eating deli meats unless heated to 165 degrees or over.
Consumption of food contaminated with L. monocytogenes can cause listeriosis, a serious infection that primarily affects older adults, persons with weakened immune systems, and pregnant women and their newborns.
Less commonly, persons outside these risk groups are affected. Listeriosis can cause fever, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions sometimes preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms. An invasive infection spreads beyond the gastrointestinal tract.
In pregnant women, the infection can cause miscarriages, stillbirths, premature delivery, or life-threatening infection of the newborn.
In addition, listeriosis can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in older adults and persons with weakened immune systems. Listeriosis is treated with antibiotics.
Persons in the higher-risk categories who experience flu-like symptoms within two months after eating potentially contaminated food should seek medical care and tell the health care provider about eating the food.