What is Listeriosis?

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What is Listeriosis?

Listeriosis is a type of infection or food-poisoning that is caused by the bacteria called “Listeria monocytogenes”.  For most healthy people, infection from this bacterium may not cause serious symptoms since the disease is considered self-limiting.  But if the affected persons involved are pregnant, they may suffer from miscarriages and/or transfer the infection to their babies.  Those with AIDS and other serious illnesses may also easily get listeriosis.

When infected with listeriosis, people may suffer from fever, headache, or muscle pains. Some may also have stomach problems and nausea.  In its serious case, the infection may lead to brain abscess, convulsions, meningitis, and even death.  The “Listeria monocytogenes” bacterium may come from either the soil or water.  This simply means that it could be found in vegetables and root crops that people eat.  Good sources of this bacterium are animals and dairy products, especially milk that is not pasteurized.

Listeriosis is typically diagnosed through a physical examination and medical history.  Blood may also be extracted from patients to conclude if they indeed are infected with the listeria bacterium.  As with many bacterial infections, patients with severe symptoms are usually given with antibiotics.  For most healthy people though, no medication may be needed and advised.

Prevention is the key in battling listeriosis.  The main advice by doctors is that people should know how to properly handle food.  This is in terms of buying, storing, cooking, and/or preparing any food item.  When going to the grocery to buy some fish products for example, these must be separated from chicken and pork meat.  When preparing and/or cooking food, one must make sure to have clean hands.  Storage should also be taken seriously to make sure that food stays clean and germ-free.  Experts also suggest reading food labels especially the cooking and storage instructions.  For people who are pregnant and those that have existing serious medical illnesses, they should avoid eating raw food, un-pasteurized milk products, refrigerated meat-based spreads, and salads bought from restaurants.

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