Chicken – easy to cook, delicious to eat, everyone’s favorite, and mouthwatering! No doubt chicken is the most cooked meat in all. But unfortunately, pre-cooked chicken is an unhealthy option because the Listeria Outbreak is in the town.
“Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have” – Winston Churchill. The saying is so relatable here.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned that eating pre-cooked chicken is harmful. The CDC is one of the Department of Health and Human Services’ primary functioning divisions.
It works around the clock to safeguard America from national and international health, security, and safety risks. They also suggested taking serious precautions before eating or serving pre-cooked chicken.
Unfortunately, due to this uncertainty, CDC issued a Listeria outbreak found in pre-cooked chicken products. According to reports, three individuals were hospitalized, and one has died due to the listeria outbreak.
These three patients from Texas and Delaware fell ill after eating a pre-cooked chicken meal. At a long-term care facility or hospital, lab tests diagnosed that they were most likely sickened because of eating pre-cooked chicken.
According to the CDC, the exact number of infected people is larger than the stated figure. In addition, the outbreak is not restricted to states where symptoms are recorded. As a result, many patients heal without medical attention and without being tested for listeria.
CDC also stated that cold meals made with pre-cooked chicken, such as deli chicken salad and salads with chicken available in a delicatessen or store’s refrigerated area, should be avoided.
Listeria infection: Symptoms & Causes
A foodborne disease outbreak occurs when two or more persons get the same sickness from the same infected food or drink. The multistate foodborne outbreak investigations involving Listeria in which the CDC led the public health agency.
The pathogen Listeria monocytogenes (they can contaminate foods and easily find in the soil, groundwater, plants, and the dung of some animals) causes listeriosis, a dangerous infection. Listeriosis commonly contracts by consuming tainted food.
Once Listeria bacteria grow beyond the gut to other body regions, it can cause serious illness (invasive listeriosis). The following foods frequently link to listeriosis:
- Foods having a lengthy shelf-life under refrigeration (L. monocytogenes may proliferate to considerable numbers in food at standard temperature if given enough time); edible foods without any further preparation, such as boiling, would eradicate L. monocytogenes.
- Readymade meat products, such as hotdogs, meat or dairy spread, and smoked salmon. In addition, brewed raw meat sausages, as well as dairy products (such as cheeses, unpasteurized milk, and frozen yogurt) and prepared salads (like coleslaw and black beans), as well as leafy green vegetables, all are the reason for previous outbreaks.
After consuming contaminated food, significant illness symptoms generally appear 1 to 4 weeks later. On the other hand, symptoms can appear as late as ten weeks after consumption.
Fever, tiredness, and muscular aches are the usual symptoms among pregnant women. Furthermore, Listeria can lead to early birth or miscarriage.
Not only fever and body aches, but others may also experience headaches, stiff necks, anxiety, disorientation, and seizures.
However, people experience bad diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and severe body pain in some cases. Usually, symptoms appear 24 hours after ingesting the bacterium and can persist for up to five days. The more considerable risk, though, is that some people will acquire invasive listeriosis.
Who is more likely to encounter a more severe illness?
Be careful whether you are young or old, and there is no apparent reason for it because we all consume chicken in our meals. But pre-cooked chicken has its limitations.
You should take serious care if you’re pregnant, have a newborn, 65 years or older, or have a weak immune power are more likely to suffer from severe illness and are at higher risk. Taking care of your health is necessary, and if someone asks you to avoid it because of a serious illness, you should avoid it. Fortunately, Listeria infection affects just a small percentage of healthy persons.
Invasive listeriosis is a considerably more critical disease, with a fatality rate of 20 to 30%. Moreover, you might have a miscarriage, a preterm birth, or other maternity disorders if you’re pregnant. Your infant may not look happy with you either, as they may be suffering from a potentially fatal illness. In the United States, about 1,600 people catch listeriosis every year.
Invasive listeriosis necessitates hospitalization for most patients, and one out of every five persons who contract the condition dies. Also, listeriosis causes fetal loss in around 20% of cases and neonatal mortality in approximately 3%.
How we can protect ourselves from Invasive Listeriosis
Until now, CDC couldn’t recognize the actual source of this outbreak and any farm that is the reason for this tainted food. Further notice regarding a specific chicken source, be cautious with pre-cooked chicken in general.
You can find the pre-cooked chicken in chicken salads and salads with chicken strips, such as those found at salad bars. For the time being, avoid any recipes using pre-cooked chicken unless you can reheat it to an internal high temperature enough to eradicate Listeria (at least 165°F).
It doesn’t mean to start consuming raw chicken alternatively of pre-cooked. Eating raw chicken might expose you to a slew of potential dangers. Aside from that, raw chicken caesar salad isn’t delicious.
If you need to eat chicken, make sure to cook or heat it at least 165°F right in front of you and eat it right away. Otherwise, wait until the existing inquiry into the chicken source concludes and reveals further details in the interim.
Suppose you get a fever and other symptoms of suspected listeriosis, like tiredness and muscular pains, two months after consuming contaminated food. In that case, you instantly require medical help and inform your doctor about it.
Treatment with antibiotics can help to reduce the symptoms of a listeria infection. Listeriosis is treatable if caught early. Doctors prescribe Antibiotics for severe symptoms like meningitis. In addition, when a condition arises during pregnancy, doctors recommend antibiotics to prevent contamination of the unborn or infant.
What WHO Says About Listeria Outbreak?
To avoid chronic diseases, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends improving food safety systems, excellent manufacturing procedures, and education of buyers and sellers on appropriate food preparation and prevention. Consumer education, particularly for high-risk categories, and food handler training in safe food handling are two of the most important ways to avoid foodborne diseases like listeriosis.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) have released a global quantitative risk analysis of Listeria in ready-to-eat meals. This analysis reflects the CAC’s general guidelines of food hygiene to control listeria in daily meals that tells the limit of the presence of L. monocytogenes in your meals.
If you’re expecting or have a weakened immune system, Listeria can hurt you immensely. So when eating these items, take extra precautions:
- Consume cheeses like feta, Brie, Camembert, or blue cheese and Mexican-style cheeses like queso Blanco and queso fresco, only if the package clearly states that the product contains pasteurized milk.
- Defrosted meat spreads should be consumed in fewer amounts. Meat spreads can be tinned or shelf-stable, which means they can securely store at ambient conditions. After opening, keep refrigerated.
- Stay away from consuming Hot dogs and deli meats. Unless reheat till they’re scorching hot. Preserve sausage packaging liquid away from other foods, utensils, and food prep surfaces. After touching these items, clean your hands properly.
Follow these basic food hygiene precautions to avoid contracting Listeria:
- Maintain a clean environment. Before and after preparing food, wash your hands completely with warm, soapy water. Wash kitchenware, cutting boards, and other food preparation surfaces with hot, soapy water after cooking.
- Clean raw veggies well. Wash or brush raw veggies under running water using a scrubber brush or veggie brush.
To sum up, be attentive for signs or symptoms of the disease if you’ve ingested food due to a listeria outbreak. For instance, consult your doctor if you feel fever, muscular pains, nausea, or diarrhea. The same is true for sickness. Therefore, you should avoid consuming heavily toxic products, such as unpasteurized milk-based meals or improperly cooked hot dogs or deli meats.
Call out immediate treatment if you have a high temperature, an intense headache, a sore throat, disorientation, or blurred vision. These signs and symptoms might indicate bacterial meningitis, a potentially fatal listeria infection consequence.
We hope this article may help fight the Listeria outbreak, and taking measures is a much better option in this regard. Avoid chicken salad and pre-cooked chicken in restaurants, and don’t disturb your healthy and happy life.