The CDC is warning Americans about a Listeria outbreak linked to precooked chicken ahead of July 4 celebrations.
Three people have been hospitalized and one person had died in Texas and Delaware after eating precooked chicken at a long-term care facility or hospital in the last few months.
The actual numbers may be higher, as some people recover from Listeria without seeking medical assistance and it can take one to four weeks for symptoms to show.
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While the CDC investigates, the agency recommends that people “reheat precooked chicken to an internal temperature of 165°F” and avoid eating “any cold dishes made with precooked chicken, such as deli chicken salad and salads with chicken sold at a salad bar, a deli counter, or the refrigerated section of a store.”
All of the illnesses that have been linked to this outbreak were in long-term care facilities or hospitals.
“Pregnant people, adults 65 years or older, and people with weakened immune systems are at higher risk for severe illness,” the CDC notes.
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Listeria is caused by the germ Listeria monocytogenes. While it usually only leads to a minor illness in pregnant women, it can be devastating to a fetus or newborn baby, potentially causing a miscarriage, stillbirth, or premature delivery.
About 1,600 Americans contract it every year, leading to death in about 20% of cases, according to the CDC.