You can catch this infection from foods tainted with the Listeria monocytogenes bacterium, which lives in soil and water. Commonly infected foods include meat; unpasteurized dairy products (especially soft cheeses); and processed foods, such as cold cuts and hot dogs, which can pick up the bacterium after processing. Unlike most bacteria, Listeria can actually grow, although slowly, at refrigerator temperatures.
Listeriosis Infection Information
Symptoms of listeriosis may not suggest a food-associated cause. Initially, there may be no symptoms or just mild fever and aches. If pregnant women get listeriosis, the disease can cause miscarriage, serious infection in the baby, or even stillbirth. In some cases, the bacteria can spread to the nervous system and cause bacterial meningitis, especially in people whose immune system has been altered by chemotherapy or steroids. Listeriosis can be treated with antibiotics for anywhere from two to six weeks, depending on the health status of the infected person.
Who's at Risk for Listeriosis?
The CDC estimates about 2,500 Americans contract a serious case of listeriosis each year, and 500 people die. Pregnant women are 20 times more likely than healthy adults and children to develop listeriosis. Newborns, the elderly, people with compromised immune systems, and people who are on certain medications (including asthma-treating glucocorticosteroids) all have a higher risk of being severely affected by listeriosis.
Defensive Measures Against Listeriosis
You can prevent listeriosis by practicing safe food-handling and food-preparation procedures. If you are pregnant or at a higher risk for the infection, you should give up processed soft cheeses, such as Brie, Camembert, and blue cheese; hot dogs; luncheon or deli meats; smoked seafood, unless it's in a cooked dish; any deli salads, such as ham, chicken, egg, tuna, or seafood salads; and any unpasteurized milk or milk products.
Salmonella bacteria cause salmonellosis, which comes with such unpleasant symptoms as nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, abdominal cramps, and headache. For some tips to avoid salmonellosis, keep reading.
This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.