Listeria is a bacterium that is found in soil, vegetation, raw milk, meat, poultry, cheeses (particularly soft mould-ripened varieties) and salad vegetables. Listeria can also be found in animals and humans. Listeria monocytogenes is a common version of the disease that can cause illness in humans. An estimated 2,500 cases of listeria occur in the U.S. each year. Approximately 200 in every 1000 cases result in death.
Listeria monocytogenes can grow at low temperatures, even in the fridge. Thorough cooking of food and pasteurisation of milk can destroy Listeria bacteria. Listeria often invades the body through a normal and intact gastrointestinal tract. Once in the body, Listeria can travel through the blood stream but the bacteria are often found inside cells where toxins are produced resulting in damaged cells.
The duration of Listeria symptoms too develop can take days or weeks. Symptoms can vary from mild flu-like illness to meningitis and septicaemia; and in pregnant women, abortion, miscarriage or birth of an infected child. Other people at risk are those whose immune systems are compromised, the very young and the very old. These individuals are advised to avoid certain foods, such as soft mould-ripened cheeses and pates, because the risk of infection is very high.
Pregnant women are about 20 times more likely than other healthy adults to get listeriosis; about one-third of listeriosis cases take place during pregnancy. The incidence of listeriosis in the newborn is 8.6 cases per 100,000 live births. The perinatal and neonatal mortality rate (stillbirths and early infant deaths) from listeriosis is 80%.
There are numerous antibiotics that Listeria may be treated with. If the infection occurs during pregnancy, antibiotics given promptly to the pregnant woman can often prevent infection of the fetus. Babies with listeriosis receive the same antibiotics as adults, although a combination of antibiotics is often used until physicians are certain of the diagnosis.
General recommendations include: thoroughly cook raw food from animal sources; keep uncooked meats separate from vegetables and from cooked and ready-to-eat foods; avoid unpasteurized (raw) milk or foods made from unpasteurized milk; wash hands, knives, and cutting boards after handling uncooked foods; wash raw vegetables thoroughly before eating; and consume perishable and ready-to-eat foods as soon as possible.
Need Legal Help Regarding Listeria Bacteria Lawsuit?
If you or a loved one has been infected with Listeria you may have valuable legal rights, please fill out the form at the right for a free case evaluation by a qualified diseases attorney. Or call our toll free number: 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).