Health Advisory for Deli Meats and Cheeses

 

The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) is advising people who are at higher risk for severe illness from Listeria to not eat meat or cheese from any deli counter unless it is reheated to an internal temperature of 165°F or until steaming hot.

 

People are considered higher risk for severe Listeria illness if they are pregnant, are 65 or older, or have a weakened immune system due to certain medical conditions or treatments.

 

National health officials are investigation an outbreak of Listeria linked to deli meat and cheese. To date, 16 illnesses, 13 hospitalizations, and one fatality have been associated with this outbreak. Although no cases have been identified in Rhode Island, cases have been identified in Massachusetts and New York.

 

Listeria can cause severe illness (known as invasive listeriosis) when the bacteria spread beyond the gut to other parts of the body. Symptoms of severe illness usually start within two weeks of eating food contaminated with Listeria but may start as early as the same day or as late as 10 weeks after.

 

Deli meats (cold cuts, lunch meats, hot dogs, and pâtés sold at the deli) and cheeses are known sources of Listeria illness. This is because Listeria can easily spread among food on deli countertops, deli slicers, surfaces, and hands. Listeria is a hardy germ that can be difficult to fully remove once it is in the deli. It can survive and grow at cold temperatures in the refrigerator.

 

What People at Higher Risk Should Do

 

People who are pregnant, are 65 or older, or who have a weakened immune system due to certain medical conditions or treatments are at higher risk for severe Listeria illness. These individuals should take the following steps:

 

  • Avoid meat or cheese from any deli counter, unless it is reheated to an internal temperature of 165°F or until steaming hot. Listeria can grow on foods kept in the refrigerator, but it is easily killed by heating food to a high enough temperature.
  • Clean your refrigerator, containers, and surfaces that may have touched deli meat or cheese from the deli.
  • Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any symptoms of severe Listeria illness after eating meat or cheese from a deli. Symptoms can include fever, muscle ache, fatigue, headache, and stiff nek. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has information online about how the signs and symptoms of Listeria infection vary depending on the person infected.

 

What Businesses Should Do

 

Congress will receive classified briefings today on the Chinese spy balloon that was shot down off the coast of South Carolina. An F-22 U.S. military jet shot down the balloon on Saturday using a Sidewinder missile. Fox News says House lawmakers will be briefed on the incident at 8am Eastern. Senators will be briefed later in the day.        President Biden says Russian leader Vladimir Putin has "already lost Ukraine." Biden gave an interview with PBS on Wednesday and said there's "no way" Russia will succeed in its occupation of Ukraine. The President also said American aid to Ukraine is open-ended, and called it vital.        A new study suggests that over 600 doctors may have died of COVID-related causes in the early days of the pandemic. The study from Stanford University claims there was "excess mortality" among U.S. physicians from March of 2020 to December of 21, and that over 600 more doctors died than may have been expected.        The Alex Murdaugh double murder trial will resume this morning. The South Carolina lawyer is accused of fatally shooting his wife and son in June of 2021 on their estate in Moselle. Yesterday the trial ended early after the courthouse was evacuated because of a bomb threat.        A father and son who were apart for two years after illegally crossing the U.S. border are suing the government over their separation. The two Guatemalans filed a lawsuit in Illinois last week seeking damages for emotional distress and negligence. The father and his then 16-year-old son crossed the border into Texas in 2018 and were separated after they were caught.        A new study says Boston is the best city for dating this Valentine's Day. The ticketing website Eventbrite ranked cities based on how many dating events they hold, and Boston came in at number one followed by New York City. Philadelphia came in at number three on the list, followed by Denver and Seattle.