CDC Warns of Listeria Outbreak

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Oct. 27, 2020 — The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued an alert about a multi-state outbreak of listeria infections.

The outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes has been reported in three states. All 10 infected people were hospitalized and one death was reported in Florida.

All those infected have reported eating Italian-style meats, such as salami, mortadella and prosciutto, either prepackaged deli meats or meats sliced at deli counters. The investigation is in process to see if a specific type of deli meat or common supplier is linked to illness.

To avoid getting sick:

  • People at higher risk for getting sick with Listeria should avoid eating deli meats unless heated to an internal temperature of 165F or until steaming hot just before serving.

  • Wash your hands after handling deli meats. Clean refrigerator shelves, kitchen countertops, utensils and other surfaces that may have come into contact with deli meats.
  • Don’t let juice from deli meats get on other foods, utensils and food preparation services.
  • Keep factory-sealed, unopened packages of deli meats in the refrigerator for no longer than two weeks. Keep open packages and meat sliced at a local deli in the refrigerator for no longer than five days.

Listeria can cause different symptoms, depending on the person and the part of the body affected.


  • Pregnant women typically have only fever and other flu-like symptoms, such as fatigue and muscle aches. Infections during pregnancy, however, can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery or life-threatening infection of the newborn.
  • Other people may have symptoms including headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions, in addition to fever and muscle aches.
  • Symptoms usually start one to four weeks after eating contaminated food.
  • The infection is treated with antibiotics.


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