What is Listeria
Listeria is bacteria which can grow in cold temperatures. It is mostly prevalent in deli meats and dairy products. Foods that are known to harbor listeria are such as:
- Soft cheeses
- Unpasteurized milk
What is Listeriosis?
Listeriosis is a disease caused by the bacteria, listeria. Symptoms of listeriosis can appear immediately after exposure or up to 90 days after eating infected food. For healthy people, listeriosis isn’t a cause for concern. It may, however, cause complications in pregnant women and persons with compromised immunity.
Some of the symptoms include;-
- Abdominal cramps
- Persistent fever
- Flu like symptoms like chills, fatigue, muscle pain and fatigue
- Persistent vomiting
Listeriosis in Pregnancy and Newborns
Listeriosis is common to pregnant women with a 10 times likelihood of catching an infection. Symptoms such as fever, diarrhea, and vomiting causing dehydration.
The risk here is mostly towards the unborn baby. If infection happens during the first trimester it poses a risk of a miscarriage.
Complications that may arise in a newborn whose mother suffers from listeriosis may include:-
- Intellectual disabilities
- Infections of the blood
- Problems with the brain, kidney and heart.
How is Listeriosis Diagnosed and Its Treatment
This disease is often diagnosed by a blood or stool test. Once confirmed, treatment often commences
Listeriosis is treated by the administration of antibiotics which will prevent the bacteria from reaching your baby.
A mother who is being treated for listeria is also advised to rehydrate well to avoid complications that may arise from it.
What You Can Do to Prevent Listeria
Since listeria is common in foods, it is important to practice proper food safety. Interventions include;
- Cleanliness-Keep your hands clean by washing with soap. Wash food preparation surfaces thoroughly with hot water.
- Clean vegetables and fruits well by using a vegetable brush and plenty of running water
- Cook food thoroughly.
- Avoiding foods that are not recommended during pregnancy.
Diagnosis and treatment of listeria is of utmost important as this bacterium poses a major risk to your unborn child. Having frequent screening of its exposure is also often advised.
Please note that development differs from one child to another.
Content intended for educational purposes only, and should not be substituted for medical advice from your doctor.
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Last reviewed March 2019