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Maryland death connected to listeria outbreak

The CDC is recommending anyone over 65, pregnant or has a weakened immune system to avoid eating deli counter meats and cheese unless it is reheated.

MARYLAND, USA — A person in Maryland has died and officials believe their death is due to a listeria outbreak connected to deli counter meats and cheeses. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the listeria outbreak has caused 16 people to get sick in six states. Thirteen of those people had to be hospitalized and one in Maryland has since died. 

Many who got sick reported eating meat or cheese from deli counters, where investigators detected listeria in open packages of sliced meats and in the environment.  The CDC has not been able to identify any specific item to avoid.

The illnesses have been reported in Maryland, California, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, and Massachusetts. A table breakdown on the CDC website shows New York has reported the most cases, with seven people becoming sick in the state.

The bacteria was found at two NetCost Market locations in New York, but health officials said that's not likely the only source of the listeria outbreak because some sick people didn't shop at the store.

The first person to become sick was on April 1 and the latest case was reported on Oct. 1.

"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 website reads. "This is because some people recover without medical care and are not tested for Listeria."

According to a CDC investigation, the ages of those who have gotten sick range from 38 to 92 years old. Eleven of those who fell ill are of Eastern European background or speak Russian and investigators are trying to figure out why. 

The CDC is now recommending that anyone over 65, pregnant or may have weakened immune systems not to eat deli-counter meat or cheeses unless 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," the CDC website reads. 

If you have recently eaten deli counter meats or cheese and are worried, here is a list of Listeria illness symptoms, according to the CDC website:

People who are not pregnant:

  • Headache 
  • Stiff neck 
  • Confusion 
  • Loss of balance
  • Convulsions
  • Fever
  • Muscle aches

Pregnant people:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches

The CDC reports Listeria can cause pregnancy loss or premature birth. It can also cause serious illness or death in some newborns.


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