Listeria infection is also medically called listeriosis. This serious disease is food-borne and has mild symptoms, so that many people do not even know that they are affected, because a listeria infection has the similar symptoms as flu and can be mistaken for it. This disease is very dangerous and even life-threatening for the pregnant women, as well as for those whose immune system is not strong enough. The main cause of this disease is the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes. This bacteria best survive in water, soil and animals. By eating contaminated food, such as raw vegetables, unpasteurized milk and infected animal meat, people can be exposed to the bacteria.
Symptoms of listeria
Listeria infection has its characteristic symptoms that may appear right at the beginning, or two months from the time when the person consummated contaminated food. The symptoms that are most common for listeria are fever and muscle aches, as well as nausea and diarrhea. In the cases when listeria infection extends to the nervous system, several other signs may warn the person of its presence. Headache, confusion, imbalance, and convulsions may be the symptoms that listeria also affected nervous system. Sometimes, stiff neck may also appear as a sign.
Listeria infection has mild symptoms when a woman is pregnant, but it can cause premature delivery or miscarriage. However, the baby is not safe and may die before the birth or may face with the serious infection when born. After the birth, the baby affected by listeria does not want to eat and frequently vomits. Irritability and fever are also the symptoms that may occur in babies with listeria infection.
When some of the above mentioned symptoms are detected, it is very important to visit a doctor in order to prevent or avoid the further complications that may occur, such as, for example, bacterial meningitis or encephalitis. There are several things that we can do in order to prevent listeria infection. It is very important to wash the hands with warm and soupy water, and not just before the eating, but also before preparing any food, because in that way, the bacteria cannot be transmitted. Furthermore, when going to the shopping, the raw foods must be separated from ready-to-eat foods. Raw vegetables must be thoroughly washed before eating under plenty of running water. Every kind of meat should be cooked thoroughly, because the bacteria are destroyed by cooking.