Scary Infection Occurring in Multiple States
(UnitedVoice.com) – Each year, roughly 48 million Americans contract foodborne illnesses. The CDC estimates doctors hospitalize about 128,000 of those, and an estimated 3,000 die from the infections. Any of 31 different pathogens might typically cause foodborne illnesses. One of them is Listeria monocytogenes. The bacterium is currently causing an issue in at least six states.
Authorities in six states are investigating a listeria outbreak. On November 9, the CDC reported at least 16 people had contracted infections in California, New York, Illinois, Maryland, Delaware, and Massachusetts. The outbreak has spanned over a year, with the first case reported in April 2021 and the most recent in September 2022. According to the CDC, the actual number of those who fell ill is probably higher because many become sick with the infection and recover without ever seeking medical care.
Of the 16 people who fell ill, 13 required hospitalization. One of the patients died, and another suffered a miscarriage. The investigation has linked the source of the infection to deli cheeses and meats such as hot dogs, cold cuts, lunch meats, and other items. Federal health officials explained listeria spreads easily via deli slicers, countertops, and hands. Once it’s in a deli, workers might have difficulty removing it from surfaces, making it challenging to pinpoint where infections originated.
Five infected people reported purchasing deli meat from a NetCost Market location in New York. Health workers identified the bacteria from the same location in October 2021. Victims range in age from 38 to 92.
Not the Only Outbreak
At the beginning of the year, there was a listeria outbreak linked to Big Olaf ice cream products made in Sarasota, Florida. Cases involved 11 states, and 28 people fell ill. Those infected ranged from 1 to 92 years old, and infections caused one death and one miscarriage. The company issued a voluntary recall.
On November 2, the CDC announced that outbreak was officially over.
What To Know
An estimated 1,600 people fall ill from listeria each year, and about 260 die. People aged 65 and older, those with weakened immune systems, newborns, and pregnant women are more likely to become critically ill. It’s important to seek medical attention if symptoms escalate. This type of infection is not spread person-to-person but rather through the consumption of contaminated foods. The exception is pregnant women, who can pass it onto the fetus through the placenta.
Symptoms include fever, headache, stiff neck, confusion, seizures, loss of balance, fatigue, and muscle aches. Pregnant people typically feel flu-like symptoms or fever.
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