Bret Easton Ellis said it best in American Pscyho: “It strikes me profoundly that the world is more often than not a bad and cruel place.” In today’s bad and cruel news, a Listeria outbreak has sickened 10 people across three states and killed one. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), deli meats are the culprit. Ah, my weary heart.
As of Friday, the outbreak had sent ten people from Florida, Massachusetts, and New York to the hospital. Thus far, one Florida resident has died. Nine of the patients reported eating Italian-style meats such as salami prior to getting sick. Here’s the scary part: The CDC hasn’t yet identified a common meat or supplier as the source of the outbreak, so all charcuterie is likely off the table for a while.
Try not to panic if you’ve recently sampled meaty delights. Most folks are unlikely to get seriously ill from Listeria, but seniors and people with compromised immune systems should keep an eye out for flu-like symptoms including fever, muscle aches, confusion, headache, and loss of balance. Listeria can also be dangerous for pregnant women, leading to complications like miscarriage or stillbirth.
If you’re in one of those high-risk categories, your best bet is to avoid eating deli meat altogether. The CDC points out that thoroughly heated deli meat is probably safe, but they’re called cold cuts for a reason, aren’t they? Otherwise, make sure to store any meat products in the fridge and keep kitchen surfaces clean.
God, this year.