Listeria Concerns the World, Do your Bit by Being Aware about this Infection

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Aug 08, 2014

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Quick Bites

  • Listeria is an infection spread by eating contaminated food.
  • Pregnant woman, older adults, and infants are at higher risk.
  • It is named after an English surgeon, Dr. Joseph Lister.
  • Contaminated food must be avoided to prevent infection.

The fear of listeria and E.coli contamination has spread across the globe. As a result of this fear, the Federal health authorities have issued a recall order of three different products, one being sold in British Columbia.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has reported no casualties so far. However, a request to throw away the recalled products has been extended to general public.

As the food inspection agencies across the world brace themselves to fight against the infection, here is what you must know about this infecting bacteria to do your bit.

Listeria Facts

Quick Facts

  • Listeria infection or listeriosis is an illness caused due to eating contaminated food with bacteria called Listeria monocytogenes.
  • Listeriosis was added to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s list of nationally notifiable diseases.
  • Around 1,600 cases of the disease are reported in USA every year. According to CDC reports, the infection is believed to be affecting 260 states in the country.
  • The infection usually affects older adults, pregnant women, infants, and adults with an impaired immune system.
  • Pregnant women are at 10 times higher risk of listeriosis. Approximately 14 per cent of cases of this infection occur during pregnancy.
  • The infection has been named after Dr. Joseph Lister, who was an English surgeon. He pioneered the use of sterilization in surgery. The mouthwash Listerine has also been named after him.

Listeria Facts

Symptoms of Listeriosis

It is important for you to recognize the early signs of infection in order to prevent its progression. The signs which you must keep under check include fever, muscle ache, and at times diarrhea or other gastrointestinal problems. Besides these, other symptoms are headache, confusion, and convulsions.

Almost all patients suffering from listeriosis have infection spread beyond the gastrointestinal tract. When the infection attacks pregnant women, it puts them at a risk of miscarriage, premature delivery or infection of the baby.

Prevention is Better than Cure

Although you can get yourself treated for infection with the help of antibiotics, it is always advised to prevent the disease first. As the infection spreads through eating contaminated food, make sure your meat is properly cooked. Cleaning of raw fruits and vegetables must be done thoroughly before consuming.

Make sure that raw meat and poultry food items are kept separately from vegetables and other cooked foods. Avoid drinking unpasteurized milk or eating foods that contain unpasteurized milk.

Maintain proper hygiene. Wash your hands, utensils, and countertops before cooking food.

For People who are at High Risk:

  • Avoid eating hot dogs, cold cuts, other deli meats, or fermented or dry sausages until they are cooked properly.
  • Do not eat refrigerated meat spreads.
  • Do not consume soft cheese if it is not made with pasteurized milk.
  • Avoid refrigerated smoked seafood if it is not in a cooked dish or is canned.

Keeping a check on the food you eat and the way you cook would make a lot of difference when it comes to preventing the infection.

Image courtesy: Getty Images

Read more on Food Poisoning.

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