An outbreak of listeria tied to deli meat and cheese has killed one person, sickened 16 others and resulted in a lost pregnancy, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Wednesday. The illnesses spanned six states.
Investigators are trying to identify any specific products or delis that may have been contaminated, according to the CDC. Samples from sick people were collected from April 17, 2021, to Sept. 29, 2022. Their ages ranged from 38 to 92.
"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," according to the CDC website.
The CDC reported that New York is home to seven of the sick people. Three live in Maryland. Massachusetts and Illinois each have two people who were sickened. New Jersey and California have one person each who fell ill.
Of 14 people with information available, 13 have been hospitalized, per the CDC. The one death was reported in Maryland.
Eleven of the 12 people interviewed reported eating meat or cheese from deli counters.
The CDC estimates that about 1,600 people get sick from listeria each year, and about 260 people die. Listeria ranks third on the list of foodborne illnesses that cause death in the United States.
Those most susceptible to listeria are pregnant people (and their newborns), adults age 65 or older and people with weakened immune systems, according to the CDC. Listeria can infect other people, but they rarely get seriously sick.
The median age of those who fell seriously ill with this outbreak is 74 years old, per the CDC.
The agency said symptoms of a severe case usually start within 2 weeks after eating contaminated food - but symptoms could present anywhere between the same day or 10 weeks after ingesting the bacteria.
Pregnant people typically experience only fever and other flu-like symptoms, according to the CDC. Others report those symptoms along with headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions.