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Listeriosis is a foodborne illness caused by Listeria monocytogenes, bacteria found in soil and water. It can be in a variety of raw foods as well as in processed foods and foods made from unpasteurized milk. Listeria is unlike many other germs because it can grow even in the cold temperature of the refrigerator.
Symptoms include fever and chills, headache, upset stomach and vomiting. Treatment is with antibiotics.
Anyone can get the illness. But it is most likely to affect pregnant women and unborn babies, older adults, and people with weak immune systems. To reduce your risk
- Use precooked and ready-to-eat foods as soon as you can
- Avoid raw milk and raw milk products
- Heat ready-to-eat foods and leftovers until they are steaming hot
- Wash fresh fruits and vegetables
- Avoid rare meat and refrigerated smoked seafood
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Prevention and Risk Factors
- Prevention of Listeriosis (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Also in Spanish
- Special Handling for Ready-to-Eat, Refrigerated Foods: Reducing the Risks of Foodborne Listeria (Food and Drug Administration) Also in Spanish
Treatments and Therapies
- Listeria (Listeriosis) Treatment and Outcomes (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Videos and Tutorials
- Enviromysteries: Inside Stories: Frankie's Story (Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Maryland Public Television)
Statistics and Research
- CDC Vital Signs: Recipe for Food Safety (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Listeria Infections (National Institutes of Health)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Comparison of listeriolysin O and phospholipases PlcA and PlcB activities,...
- Article: Cross-border outbreak of listeriosis caused by cold-smoked salmon, revealed by...
- Article: Listeria monocytogenes switches from dissemination to persistence by adopting a...
- Listeria Infections -- see more articles
- Food Safety for Moms to Be: While You're Pregnant - Listeria (Food and Drug Administration) Also in Spanish
- Listeria and Pregnancy (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists)
- Listeriosis and Pregnancy (Organization of Teratology Information Specialists) - PDF Also in Spanish