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 Listeria (Listeriosis) (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Also in Spanish
- What You Need to Know About Preventing Listeria Infections (Food and Drug Administration) Also in Spanish
Treatments and Therapies
- Listeria (Listeriosis) Treatment and Outcomes (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: Assessment of the influence of selected stress factors on the growth...
- Article: Listeria motility increases the efficiency of epithelial invasion during intestinal infection.
- Article: Prevalence of Listeria monocytogenes infection in women with spontaneous abortion, normal...
- 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