Listerosis: A serious infection caused by the bacterium listeria monocytogenes
A Listeria infection, also known as Listerosis, can be very serious. Caused by the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes, it is most likely obtained via eating food contaminated by that particular strain of bacteria. While several key groups are at risk, and symptoms can be severe, there are successful and easy steps which can be taken to help prevent infection and reduce risk.
Read on for a guide on Listeria symptoms, causes and more, and what you can do to take action if you've been the victim of such an infection which could have been prevented with the proper actions of others.
How is Listeria contracted?
Listeria is a foodborne illness, and unlike many other strains of bacteria, it can thrive in low temperatures, including temperatures between 0 and 50 degrees. This means that food in your refrigerator can become susceptible to Listeria. Besides eating contaminated food, Listeria can also be passed from a pregnant mother to the child, adding great risk.
The most at-risk individuals include pregnant women and newborns, along with the elderly, or adults with weakened immune systems. However, it should be said that anybody could potentially contract Listeria.
Common Listeria symptoms
The most common Listeria symptoms include:
- Muscle aches, headaches, stiff neck
- Confusion, loss of balance
- Diarrhea & gastrointestinal issues
- Pregnant women typically experience a mild illness similar to having the flu. However, Listerosis can lead to complications including miscarriage, premature births, life-threatening infections for newborns and so forth.
Listeria Treatment & Prevention
Listeria treatment includes antibiotics, and is typically only administered when a high-risk individual experiencing symptoms seeks medical care. Treatment may be needed within up to 2 months from eating contaminated food products.
If no symptoms are present, then no treatment is needed for Listeria. In other words, for healthy adults with strong immune systems and no present symptoms being displayed, the body should be able to rid itself of a Listeria infection without prolonged side effects or ongoing health concerns.
In elderly individuals or those with serious medical issues, as well as newborns at risk due to infections received during pregnancy or birth, death can be caused as a result of Listeria.
For Listeria prevention, follow typical food safety guidelines which can be effectively utilized for the prevention of the majority of foodborne bacterial illnesses. This includes rinsing raw produce, as well as scrubbing hard or firm produce, and drying produce.
Separate uncooked meat and poultry in storage from other foods. Always wash hands, counter tops, cutting boards, utensils and hands after handling uncooked foods. Also was the inside of your refrigerator, and always clean up spills immediately.
As mentioned, Listeria can be fostered in cooled, refrigerated environments. Keep the refrigerator at 40 degrees or below, and heat up cold foods which have been stored. Do not keep opened containers of deli meats, leftovers, hot dogs, etc, past recommended timelines.
For individuals with the highest risk of Listeria infection, including pregnant women, additional precautions can be taken:
- Avoid eating hot dogs, lunch meats and cold cuts, unless heated to internal temperature of 165 degrees.
- Do not eat soft cheeses unless labeled as "made with pasteurized milk".
- Do not eat or drink anything with unpasteurized or "raw" milk.
- Avoid eating refrigerated smoked foods, including lox, unless used ina cooked dish, or canned. Canned tuna or meat spreads are safe to eat.
Unfortunately, as with all types of food poisoning cases and foodborne illnesses, Listeria prevention is not 100% possible. If you or a loved one have suffered a serious case of Listerosis and believe it was caused as a result of eating a contaminated food product from a store or restaurant, then you should seek legal representation to protect yourself and seek remedies for the damages and suffering you have experienced.
From mislabeled products or relabeled products, incorrect "sell by" or "use by" dates, unsafe or uncleanly food preparation or food service practices and more, there are a variety of ways in which Listeria can be spread when it could have been prevented and avoided.
Call us today for a free consultation and we'll provide you with more information and what you can do if you have been the victim of Listeria infection in California.
If you or a loved one has become seriously infected with listerosis, please contact one of our food poisoning attorneys. Contact us today at 949-203-3814 for a Free, No-Hassel, No-Obligation, Case Consultation.