The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating a multi-state listeria outbreak linked to deli-sliced meats and cheeses, including one confirmed case in New Jersey.

Eight cases have been reported, from Michigan, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. One of the cases in Michigan resulted in a death.

Testing and interviews by the CDC revealed the cases originated with meats or cheeses sliced using a contaminated deli slicer, but a common product brand or store was not identified. The cases were reported between November 2016 and March 2019.

The CDC is only advising that retailers clean and sanitize deli slicers frequently, along with areas where products are prepared, served, and stored, to avoid cross-contamination. Surfaces that food comes in contact with, such as cutting boards, are recommended to be smooth, sealed, non-porous, and easily cleanable.

Customers are advised to store opened packages for only three to five days.

Listeriosis can cause different symptoms, depending on the person and the part of the body affected, according to the CDC.

  • Pregnant women typically experience only fever and other flu-like symptoms, such as fatigue and muscle aches. However, infections during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery, or life-threatening infection of the newborn.
  • People other than pregnant women: Symptoms can include headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions, in addition to fever and muscle aches.
  • People with invasive listeriosis usually report symptoms starting one to four weeks after eating food contaminated with Listeria; some people have reported symptoms starting as late as 70 days after exposure, or as early as the same day of exposure.
  • Listeriosis is treated with antibiotics.

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