Listeria Infections Linked to Deli Meats

  • 1

Deli meats are precooked or cured meats that are sliced and served cold or hot, such as salami, mortadella, and prosciutto. Although many enjoy Deli meats as they are delicious, they may not be healthy enough.



Now, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is investigating a multistate outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections linked to deli meats.


What is listeria monocytogenes infection and how does it spread?


Listeria monocytogenes is a bacterium that lives in the soils, water, and animal feces. The germ could cause Listeriosis, a serious infection that primarily affects pregnant women, newborns, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems.



Most frequently, people get infected with listeria monocytogenes after eating contaminated foods or drinks. Common sources of the germs include:


· Dairy products, such as unpasteurized cheese or milk

· Animal meat that may be contaminated with animal feces, such as hot dogs, refrigerated meats and deli meats

· Raw vegetables or fruits that have been contaminated with soils or animal feces



Common symptoms of listeria infection


People usually become ill several hours to a few days after eating contaminated food. The symptoms can vary from mild to severe and last several days to a few weeks. Common symptoms include nausea and vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and fever.


Sometimes, the listeria in the gut can spread to other body organs and cause severe consequences. For example, the listeria bacteria can spread to the brain and cause meningitis or even blood poisoning. If the patient is a pregnant woman, it may even cause miscarriages or stillbirth.



How to treat listeria infection?


For patients with mild symptoms, home treatment with drinking plenty of water and taking painkillers to control the pain may be sufficient. If the symptoms are severe, then hospitalization with intravenous antibiotics and fluids would be necessary.


Pregnant women with listeria infection should be treated at the hospital. In addition to treating the listeria bacteria, the doctor would also closely monitor the baby’s status for signs of distress.



How to prevent listeria infection?


Listeria bacteria could survive cold temperatures but can be killed by heat (165°F or 73.8°C). Thus, the most important way to prevent it is cooking at temperatures over 165°F (73.8°C). in addition, unpasteurized dairy products should be avoided. For pregnant women, it is advised to avoid foods that are often associated with listeria infections, such as Deli meats, smoked fish, unpasteurized cheese and processed meats.


Editors’ selected articles and questions are posted in HTQ Page on Facebook. You are most welcome to follow and/or Like us to stay updated on the latest health info.

1 Answer

These messages are for mutual support and information sharing only. Always consult your doctor before trying anything you read here.
I enjoyed reading this article , so , I thank you.  I would appreciate reading general health information if you'll send it.

I am old - 75 ,  female and have been in treatment for Type II Diabetes for over 36 years.  I am quarantining now for months to avoid contracting Covid19.  I live in Chicago where Covid is drasticly high.  I have Asthma ,  Obesity and depressive-anxiety.  I've suffered from Migraine since the first birth of my five babies - 40 years ago. Thank you for your attention.  I have no social interaction.  Children live out of state. I am lonely but still happy.  I enjoyed a great , interesting life.
I am sorry that you are isolated where you live. I used to have migraine headaches but as I became older, I sometimes found that a warm cloth on my forehead helped along with extra strength Tylenol. I believe that some social activities may help also if they can be arranged. I think perhaps your family should try to stay in touch with you if possible...Maybe they don't realize how you are feeling or how lonely it is without family or friends nearby.