CDC warns deli meats linked to serious illness and at least one death

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has linked deli meats sold in multiple states with a serious foodborne illness that has claimed at least one life. A total of 10 cases have been reported under this outbreak, according to the agency, all of which required hospitalization. At this point in time, experts have linked the foodborne illness specifically with Italian-style meats like salami.

There are multiple types of foodborne illnesses, some riskier than others. Unfortunately, this new outbreak involves one of the more risky pathogens, a bacteria known as Listeria. When consumed, this bacteria can cause a serious infection known as Listeriosis, though it primarily impacts newborns, older adults, anyone who has a weakened immune system, and pregnant women, according to the CDC.

Someone with this infection may experience a variety of symptoms, including fever and diarrhea, muscle aches, fatigue, stiff neck, troubles maintaining balance, convulsions, headache, confusion, and, in the case of pregnant women, premature delivery, miscarriage, and stillbirth.

In a new investigation notice published Friday, October 23, the CDC says that there is epidemiologic evidence that this illness is due to deli meats including salami, prosciutto, and mortadella sold both pre-packaged and sliced at the deli counter. However, interviews with the nine surviving patients hasn't turned up any common supplier or a specific type of meat at this time.

The CDC says the public should avoid deli meats unless they've been heated to an internal temperature of 165F or to 'steaming hot' right before they're served for consumption. Likewise, the meats should be isolated from other foods and surfaces, the agency says. Any surfaces in contact with the meat should be cleaned, hands that touched the meat should be cleaned, and the deli meat should be stored sealed in the refrigerator for no longer than two weeks (and only up to five days if opened).

At this time, Listeria infections linked to this outbreak have been reported in New York, Florida, and Massachusetts.