Information on Listeria Infection

Listeriosis is a hazardous infection caused by eating food that’s impure with bacteria called Listeria monocytogenes (L. monocytogenes). The bacteria that reason listeria infections (Listeria monocytogenes) are found in soil and water. A lot of wild and domestic animals also carry the bacteria. Listeria has the unusual ability to grow in cold environments, including certain refrigerated or frozen foods. Listeria is dissimilar from other bacteria that cause food poisoning because it can survive and continue to grow even when in the refrigerator. Foods contaminated with listeria look, smell, and taste normal.

Listeria can assault the body through a normal and whole gastrointestinal tract. Once in the body, Listeria can pass through the blood stream but the germs are frequently found in cells. Listeria also produces toxins that break cells. Listeria invades and grows best in the central nervous system among immune-compromised persons, causing meningitis and/or encephalitis (brain infection). In pregnant women, the fetus can become infected, leading to spontaneous abortion, stillbirths, or sepsis (blood infection) in infancy. Approximately 2,500 cases of listeriosis are probable to occur in the U.S. each year.

Certain group of individuals are at bigger risk for listeriosis, involving pregnant women (and their unborn children) and persons with cancer, diabetes, or kidney disease. Infected pregnant women may experience only a meek, flu-like illness; however, infections during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage or stillbirth, premature delivery, or infection of the newborn. Symptoms of Listeriosis differ in those affected healthy people may develop few or no symptoms and for others the infection can become serious enough to require hospitalization and may threaten their life. A person with listeriosis has fever and muscle aches.

If virus spreads to the nervous system, warning signs such as headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, or seizures can happen. There are many antibiotics with which listeriosis may be treated. Ampicillin usually is considered antibiotic of choice. Prevention is better than cure. Good food handling and safe storage of food are important for everyone. Another aspect of prevention is advising high-risk groups such as pregnant women and immunocompromised patients to avoid unpasteurised pâtés and foods such as soft cheeses like feta, Brie, Camembert cheese, and bleu.