November 14, 2011

Listeria Infection

Listeria is a bacterium found primarily in soil and water. According to the CDC, the vegetables can contaminate the soil or from manure used as fertilizer. Animals carrying the bacteria can also contaminate food. Listeria is found in a wide variety of raw foods such as meats and vegetables and processed foods that become contaminated after processing, such as soft cheeses (like feta and blue cheese are destroyed) and cold sores.

Unpasteurized milk or foods made from unpasteurized milk may also be a source of listeria infection. Listeria is killed by pasteurization and heating procedures used to prepare ready to eat processed meats should be sufficient to kill bacteria. However, unless the practice of good manufacturing practices followed, contamination can occur even after processing.

According to the CDC, an estimated 2,500 people in the U.S. of serious illness from listeria infections each year, and with it, 500 will die. CDC reports that have a higher risk of developing listeriosis include:

  • Pregnant women.
  • People with weakened immune systems.
  • People with cancer, diabetes or kidney disease.
  • People with AIDS.
  • People, such as people with asthma, who took the steroid medicine.
  • The elderly.

Symptoms of listeriosis can include:

  • Fever.
  • Muscle pain.
  • Nausea.
  • Diarrhoea.
  • If infection spreads to listeria nervous system (brain and spinal cord), symptoms may appear as follows:
  • Headache.
  • Stiffness in the neck.
  • Confusion.
  • Loss of balance.
  • Convulsions.

Infected pregnant women may experience only mild flu symptoms, however, infections during pregnancy can cause premature birth, infection of the newborn, or even stillbirth. There is no regular testing to determine if they are prone to Listeria infections during pregnancy. If you have symptoms of listeriosis, consult your doctor immediately. Read more article: Listeria Outbreak 

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