Officials Believe They Found The Culprit Behind Deadly, Multi-State Listeria Outbreak


Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced Wednesday the source of a deadly multi-state outbreak of listeria.

Sixteen people are known to have been infected with listeria, with 13 hospitalized from six different U.S. states after eating contaminated deli counter meats and/or cheeses, the CDC said in a statement issued on Wednesday. Two deaths have been linked to the outbreak: one in Maryland, and the other of an unborn child whose mother was infected with the illness.

Investigators are continuing to work to identify exactly what deli meats or cheese and any other specific products or deli have been contaminated with the outbreak strain, the CDC noted. Those infected in New York all shopped at the same deli.  The agency has been collecting samples from victims as early as April of this year, stating that the true number of those infected is likely significantly higher than the reported totals.

The infections span the country, with seven in New York, three in Maryland, two in Illinois, and one each in California and New Jersey, according to CNN. Most of those infected are of Eastern European backgrounds or speak Russian, the CDC noted, adding that their teams are still trying to figure out why the outbreak is impacting these demographics disproportionately. (RELATED: STUDY: Newly Identified Microbes Frozen In Tibetan Ice Could Create Nearly 1,000 Pandemics If Released)

Many of those infected have likely recovered without medical care. Listeria is listed as the third leading cause of death from food poisoning in the U.S., with about 1,600 infections happening every year, which leads to roughly 260 deaths, according to official data from the CDC.