Listeria

Listeria

Listeria

Listeria is the name of a bacteria found in soil and water and some animals, including poultry and cattle. It can be present in raw milk and foods made from raw milk. It can also live in food processing plants and contaminate a variety of processed meats.

Listeria is unlike many other germs because it can grow even in the cold temperature of the refrigerator. Listeria is killed by cooking and pasteurization.

Sources

  • Ready-to-eat deli meats and hot dogs
  • Refrigerated pâtés or meat spreads
  • Unpasteurized (raw) milk and dairy products
  • Soft cheese made with unpasteurized milk, such as queso fresco, Feta, Brie, Camembert
  • Refrigerated smoked seafood
  • Raw sprouts

Incubation Period

3-70 days

Symptoms

Fever, stiff neck, confusion, weakness, vomiting, sometimes preceded by diarrhea

Duration of Illness

Days to weeks

Who’s at Risk?

  • Older adults
  • Pregnant women
  • People with weakened immune systems
  • Organ transplant patients who are receiving drugs to prevent the body from rejecting the organ
  • People with certain diseases, such as:
    • HIV/AIDS or other autoimmune diseases
    • Cancer
    • End-stage renal disease
    • Liver disease
    • Alcoholism
    • Diabetes

What Do I Do?

If you are very ill with fever or stiff neck, consult your doctor immediately. Antibiotics given promptly can cure the infection and, in pregnant women, can prevent infection of the fetus.

How Do I Prevent It?

  • Do not drink raw (unpasteurized) milk, and do not eat foods that have unpasteurized milk in them.
  • Wash hands, knives, countertops, and cutting boards after handling and preparing uncooked foods.
  • Rinse raw produce thoroughly under running tap water before eating.
  • Keep uncooked meats, poultry, and seafood separate from vegetables, fruits, cooked foods, and ready-to-eat foods.
  • Thoroughly cook raw food from animal sources, such as meat, poultry, or seafood to a safe internal temperature.
  • Wash hands, knives, countertops, and cutting boards after handling and preparing uncooked foods.
  • Consume perishable and ready-to-eat foods as soon as possible.
  • Persons in higher risk groups should heat hot dogs, cold cuts, and deli meats before eating them.

 

 

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