Listeria (Listeriosis) – A Disease Caused by Food

Listeriosis, a serious infection usually caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes, is an important public health problemListeria (Listeriosis) is the name of a bacteria found in soil and water and some animals, including poultry and cattle. It can be present in raw milk and foods made from raw milk. It can also live in food processing plants and contaminate a variety of processed meatsListeria(Listeriosis) is unlike many other germs because it can grow even in the cold temperature of the refrigerator. Listeria (Listeriosis) is killed by cooking and pasteurization. Incubation Period of bacteria is 3-70 days.

Sources of Listeria (Listeriosis)

Some of the sources of Listeria (Listeriosis) are as follows:-

  • Ready-to-eat deli meats and hot dogs
  • Refrigerated pâtés or meat spreads
  • Unpasteurized (raw) milk and dairy products
  • Soft cheese made with unpasteurized milk
  • Refrigerated smoked seafood
  • Raw sprouts

Risk Factors of Listeria (Listeriosis).

Following persons are at a greater risk of Listeria (Listeriosis):-

  • Aged people
  • Pregnant women
  • People with weakened immune systems
  • Organ transplant patients who are receiving drugs to prevent the body from rejecting the organ
  • People with certain diseases, such as:

Diagnosis of Listeria (Listeriosis)

Preliminary Diagnosis is usually based on the patient’s history and physical exam, especially after the patient gives a history of likely exposure to a contaminated food source during a Listeria outbreak. Without this information, the diagnosis is difficult to sort out from many other diseases. Definitive diagnosis of Listeriosis is by Culturing Listeria Monocytogenes Bacteria from the patient’s blood, cerebrospinal fluid or amniotic fluid, usually on a medium that is selective for Listeria (for example, RAPID’L mono agar). Currently, no reliable tests are available to detect the bacteria in the stool; also, there are no serological tests available.

Symptoms of Listeria (Listeriosis)

Symptoms of Listeria (Listeriosis) may show up 2-70 days after exposure, it includes fever, stiff neck, confusion, weakness, vomiting, sometimes preceded by diarrhea. Symptoms in pregnant women include mild flu-like symptoms, headaches, muscle aches, fever, nausea, and vomiting. If the infection spreads to the nervous system it can cause stiff neck, disorientation, or convulsions. Infection can occur at any time during pregnancy, but it is most common during the third trimester when your immune system is somewhat suppressed. Be sure to contact your health care provider if you experience any of these sym

Prevention of Listeria (Listeriosis)

  • Do not drink raw (unpasteurized) milk, and do not eat foods that have unpasteurized milk in them.
  • Wash hands, knives, countertops, and cutting boards after handling and preparing uncooked foods.
  • Rinse raw produce thoroughly under running tap water before eating.
  • Keep uncooked meats, poultry, and seafood separate from vegetables, fruits, cooked foods, and ready-to-eat foods.
  • Thoroughly cook raw food from animal sources, such as meat, poultry, or seafood to a safe internal temperature.
  • Wash hands, knives, countertops, and cutting boards after handling and preparing uncooked foods.
  • Consume perishable and ready-to-eat foods as soon as possible.
  • Persons in higher risk groups should heat hot dogs, cold cuts, and deli meats before eating them.

Treatment of Listeria (Listeriosis)

The majority of people with Listeria Infections spontaneously clear the infection in about seven days. However, those patients at increased risk, especially pregnant patients, usually require immediate IV antibiotic treatment to prevent, halt, or slow the development of more severe disease. For example, early effective antibiotic treatment of pregnant females may be lifesaving for the fetus. In general, length of antibiotic treatment increases with the severity of the infection. Meningitis is treated for three weeks while brain abscesses are treated for six weeks. The initial choice of antibiotics is usually IV ampicillin. Bactrim (trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole) also has been used successfully.

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One thought on “Listeria (Listeriosis) – A Disease Caused by Food

  1. Thank you for another informative blog. Where else could I get that kind of info written in such an ideal way? I have a project that I’m just now working on, and I have been on the look out for such info

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