What is listeriosis?

Listeriosis is an uncommon form of infection brought about by the listeria bacteria. The infection typically settles on its own but can lead to serious issues among those who have a weakened immune system and pregnant women.

How can I acquire the infection?

Listeriosis is generally acquired from eating contaminated food. It can be acquired from various types of food but typically an issue with:

  • Dairy products made from unpasteurized milk
  • Unpasteurized milk
  • Soft types of cheese such as brie and camembert
  • Ready-to-eat-foods that were chilled such as pâté, sandwiches and deli meats

Take note that these foods will not always lead to the condition.

listeriosis

Generally, listeriosis does not trigger any symptoms or only cause minor symptoms for a few days such as diarrhea, fever and nausea.

The condition can also be acquired from:

  • Exposure to infected individuals such as eating food that they handled especially if they have not washed hands thoroughly
  • Close exposure to farm animals particularly cows and sheep that are giving birth

What are the signs?

Generally, listeriosis does not trigger any symptoms or only cause minor symptoms for a few days such as:

  • Fever of 38 degrees C or higher
  • Chills
  • Body ache
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and/or vomiting

If any of these symptoms are present, it can be managed at home.

Prevention

There are some measures that can be done to lower the risk for acquiring listeriosis such as:

  • Regularly wash hands using water and soap
  • Vegetables and fruits must be thoroughly washed before eating them
  • Ready-to-eat foods must be stored according to the packaging instructions
  • Make sure that all hot foot is steaming hot all the way
  • Avoid foods that are after the “use-by date” even if they smell and appear normal

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