Listeriosis is an infection caused by the gram-positive bacterium Listeria monocytogenes, which has a worldwide distribution. Listeriosis is caused by eating foods contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. Ready-to-eat food, such as hot dogs and lunch meats, are a common source of Listeria monocytogenes.
Listeria is known to thrive in chilling atmosphere, cold climes, contaminated food products, and polluted water.
Listeriosis primarily affects seniors, newborns, pregnant women, and adults who have weakened immune systems. Listeriosis can be transmitted to the fetus through the placenta even if the mother is not showing signs of illness. It can cause miscarriage, premature labor or even be fatal to the baby. Babies can be born with listeriosis if their mothers eat contaminated food during pregnancy. Although healthy persons may consume contaminated foods without becoming ill, those at increased risk for infection can probably get listeriosis after eating food contaminated with even a few bacteria. Persons at risk can prevent Listeria infection by avoiding certain high-risk foods and by handling food properly.
Symptoms of Listeriosis
Listeriosis symptoms may appear days to weeks after exposure to the contaminated food. Listeriosis symptoms may include short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Loss of balance or convulsions can occur if the infection has spread to the brain or spinal column. Pregnant women will begin developing more serious symptoms of the condition if this is the case. Stiff neck, disorientation and convulsions are signs of severe listeriosis. These signs and symptoms of listeriosis require immediate medical attention.
Listeriosis is commonly associated with the following foods: raw meat, unpastuerized products, and ready-to-eat foods like lunch meats, hotdogs, and soft cheeses. People who are most susceptible to infection include pregnant women, unborn children, young children, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems.