16 Illnesses, One Death Reported From Listeria in Deli Meat, Cheese

Many of the 16 who got sick are of Eastern European background or speak Russian and ate food from deli counters
listeriaCDC/Illustrator: Jennifer Oosthuizen

THURSDAY, Nov. 10, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- Public health officials are investigating an outbreak of Listeria that has infected people in at least six states, hospitalizing 13, killing one, and causing the loss of a pregnancy.

The outbreak strain is connected to deli meat and cheese, including those sold at NetCost Markets in New York, though that is not the only source, according to an alert from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Investigators suspect a contaminated food introduced the bacteria to delicatessens in several states.

Eleven of the 16 cases reported so far have occurred in people of Eastern European background or those who speak Russian, health officials said. Investigators are trying to understand why.

Most of those sickened reported eating food from deli counters, including five people who shopped at the international grocery store chain NetCost Market in New York City and six who shopped at delis in other states. Health officials found the outbreak bacteria strain in the deli environment and in open packages of sliced deli meats from a NetCost Market in Brooklyn, as well as an open package of sliced salami purchased from a NetCost Market in Staten Island, New York.

Those sickened include one person in California, one in New Jersey, two in Illinois, two in Massachusetts, seven in New York, and three in Maryland, where one patient died.

While investigators work to pinpoint the specific source of the contamination, they are warning that Listeria can spread easily on countertops, slicers, surfaces, and hands. "Listeria is a hardy germ that can be difficult to fully remove once it is in the deli. It can survive and grow at cold temperatures in the refrigerator," the CDC said in its alert.

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