Sick with Listeria?
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Listeria lawyer Elliot Olsen has regained millions for clients. If you or a family member were sickened by deli meats or cheeses, you might have cause to file a Listeria lawsuit. Please call (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that it is investigating an outbreak of Listeria illnesses caused by sliced deli meats and cheeses.

Eight people have contracted listeriosis from the contaminated deli products since November 2016, and one victim died. All of those sickened were exposed to the same strain of Listeria monocytogenes, one of the most deadly foodborne pathogens.

The cases have been reported in four states: Michigan, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.

Deli meats, cheeses linked to Listeria outbreak

The CDC announced that sliced deli meats and cheeses contaminated with Listeria have sickened eight people – one of whom died – since November 2016.

Deli meats and cheeses:
CR tests confirm problem

According to Consumer Reports (CR), the CDC’s announcement comes as the consumer watchdog is conducting its own tests of deli meats. The CR report said that one turkey sample, purchased from a deli in New York City, contained a strain of Listeria similar to the one involved in the outbreak.

Said Dr. James E. Rogers, the CR director of food safety testing: “Our results serve as a reminder for everyone — especially those in vulnerable groups — about the dangers that Listeria can pose, and the precautions they should take with deli meats, which are prone to contamination with this type of bacteria.”

Deli meats and cheeses:
Inquiry began in 2017

The CDC investigation began in 2017, when it examined the illnesses of several people who became infected with Listeria between November 2016 and February 2017. No common food source was determined at that time, however.

CR sent its findings to the CDC late last year, and investigators discovered that the Listeria found in CR’s testing of deli meats was closely related genetically to the Listeria that had made people sick.

CDC investigators subsequently found the Listeria strain that sickened the eight people in deli meats sliced at multiple retail locations in New York and Rhode Island. The stores where ill people shopped served many different brands of deli products, however, and the CDC said it has not identified the type or brand of deli meats or cheeses that caused the illnesses.

Deli meats and cheeses:
About listeriosis

The CDC estimates that about 1,600 Americans become infected with Listeria yearly, and about 260 of those victims will die from the infection. Because listeriosis can escalate quickly and become dangerous, people who contract the disease usually need to be hospitalized.

Listeriosis symptoms are similar to those of other types of food poisoning, and include the following:

  • muscle pains
  • nausea
  • fever
  • diarrhea.

Deli meats and cheeses:
People at greatest risk

Like many other foodborne diseases, Listeria starts growing in the digestive tract but can spread from there and affect the bloodstream, major organs, and the central nervous system. Symptoms usually start within the first month, but the incubation period is anywhere from three days to two months.

Listeria can infect anyone, but people most susceptible to serious complications are pregnant women, babies, senior citizens, and anyone with a compromised immune system.

Pregnant women must be particularly vigilant about avoiding Listeria, because the bacteria can spread to the baby and result in miscarriage, stillbirth, or infection. The CDC estimates that 20 percent of affected pregnancies end in loss of the fetus, and 3 percent end in stillbirth.

Also, if the infection spreads to the central nervous system, it can result in bacterial meningitis, which is an inflammation of the membranes that protect the brain and spinal cord. If that occurs, symptoms can worsen to include headaches, a stiff neck, disorientation, convulsions, and light sensitivity – and hospitalization is necessary.

Deli meats and cheeses:
Preventing Listeria at home

The CDC’s post about the outbreak includes the following recommendations to consumers to avoid Listeria infection at home:

  • Don’t let juice from lunch meat and hot dog packages get on other foods, utensils, and food-preparation surfaces.
  • Wash hands after handling deli meats, lunch meats, deli cheeses, and hot dogs.
  • Store opened packages of meat sliced at a local deli no longer than 3-5 days in the refrigerator.

Free consultation

Elliot Olsen has decades of experience representing people harmed by food poisoning. You can contact him for a free consultation by filling out the following form and submitting it: