The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is advising consumers and retailers not to eat, serve, or sell recalled ready-to-eat deli ham produced by Johnston County Hams, Inc. The ham is linked to a multistate outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections.

Image/Renee Comet, National Cancer Institute
Image/Renee Comet, National Cancer Institute

According to the investigation to date, four people infected with the outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes have been reported from North Carolina and Virginia. All four were hospitalized, one death has been reported from Virginia.

Recalled ham products were sold under several brand names. The full recall list is available HERE

CDC says retailers should clean and sanitize deli slicers and other areas where recalled deli ham was prepared, stored, or served.

Return any recalled deli ham to the store for a refund or throw it away. Even if some ham was eaten and no one got sick, do not eat it. If you do not know if the ham you purchased was recalled, ask the place where you purchased it or throw it away. Wash and sanitize drawers or shelves in refrigerators and freezers where recalled ham was stored.

Listeriosis can cause a variety of symptoms, depending on the person and the part of the body affected.

  • Pregnant women: Pregnant women typically experience only fever and other flu-like symptoms, such as fatigue and muscle aches. However, infections during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery, or life-threatening infection of the newborn.
  • People other than pregnant women: Symptoms can include headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions in addition to fever and muscle aches.

LISTEN: Listeria monocytogenes: Who’s most at risk, pathology and common sources

People with invasive listeriosis usually report symptoms starting 1 to 4 weeks after eating food contaminated with Listeria; some people have reported symptoms starting as late as 70 days after exposure or as early as the same day of exposure. Listeriosis is treated with antibiotics.

Pregnant women and their newborns, adults age 65 and older, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to get sick with listeriosis.