Listeria outbreak linked to deli meat and cheese reaches California
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California health officials are investigating a large outbreak of listeria tied to deli meat and cheese, prompting state officials to ban the products from restaurants, schools and hospitals in the state.
The California Department of Public Health said Friday that 15 of 16 people who were sickened after eating deli cheese or other deli-related products.
The other person who became sick earlier this month in a different case is now in good condition.
People who are at high risk of listeriosis, a very rare disease caused by bacteria linked to infection of the bloodstream, should not eat raw or undercooked deli meat and dairy products and should check the label on those products to make sure they have been properly handled, the state health department said.
State agency director Dr. Tom Nelson said those who have been exposed are being isolated and being treated and are currently under investigation.
The agency is continuing to investigate and will release more information as it becomes available, Nelson said. The state is alerting consumers to the possibility of the outbreak.
The state health department issued a warning about the issue last month. The department said Friday that it is continuing to work with other state agencies that investigate food-borne outbreaks. It is reaching out to local health departments for assistance.
California Department of Public Health spokeswoman Dr. Anne Schubert said she could not respond to a specific question.
“We’re taking this very seriously and we are coordinating the whole state,” she said. “Everyone needs to act as a group to be aware, to be safe so we can get the word out and get the information out.”
The state’s lone large-scale listeria outbreak since 1979 is believed to have originated in a deli case in Santa Rosa, involving a hamburger.
It also infected more than 200 people in Canada.
California has a long history of having problems with listeria.
From a small outbreak of l