Listeria is a food borne bacterial infection that may have a severe impact in pregnant women and people with weaker immune system. The causative agent is bacterium Listeria monocytogenes and it is contracted mostly by eating unprocessed meats and unpasteurized milk. The bacteria can survive even in refrigerated and frozen foods.

Health conditions such as AIDS, cancer, diabetes and alcohol intake which can lead to weaker immune system makes the person more susceptible for Listeria infection.

Symptoms of the disease vary with affected individual. Pregnant women exhibit fatigue, fever, muscle pain and other flu like symptoms. The infection mostly results in miscarriage or still birth. Newborns with Listeria infections develop meningitis and mostly die. The survivors exhibit many neurological disorders.

Symptoms

  • Stiffness in neck
  • Loss of balance
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle ache
  • Confusions
  • Convulsions

Diagnosis And Treatment

Diagnosis of the infection includes a culture of blood or body tissue sample. Antibiotics are effective in the treatment of the infection.

Due to its serious effects, preventive measures are recommended for pregnant women. Listeria outbreaks are associated by eating ready to eat meals, hot dogs and dairy products. Use of pasteurized dairy products, cleaning the vegetables and cooking the food thoroughly before consumption can reduce the likelihood of infections.

Raw sprouts, fermented sausages, hot dogs, cold cuts and canned fish products are mostly contaminated with Listeria and therefore, should be heated or well cooked before use.