With the many food recalls we see on the news, E. Coli and salmonella have become familiar causes of foodborne illnesses. While these bacteria are widely talked about, they are not the only ones we should be concerned with.
Listeria infections occur in a similar way to salmonella—by eating food contaminated with the listeria monocytogenes bacteria. This bacteria is commonly found in processed meats like hot dogs and deli meats, soft cheeses, smoked seafood and raw or unpasteurized milk products. In a recent blog post, Very Well Health discusses the risks, symptoms and preventative measures to take when dealing with listeria. Some of the most important things to note include:
- Those at high-risk for severe infection include pregnant women, newborns, those with weakened immune systems and older adults
- Symptoms include fever, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions
- Make sure all food is properly washed, fully cooked, and stored at proper temperatures to avoid bacteria growth
- Certain high-risk groups, like pregnant women, should avoid some foods altogether, such as hot dogs or sausages unless properly cooked to 160℉, feta cheese, brie, queso blanco and refrigerated smoked seafood unless thoroughly cooked
While many people may come in contact with listeria and experience mild symptoms or none at all, those at high-risk for complications should take extra precautions when handling food. Most listeriosis cases can be treated with antibiotics. However, anyone who is at high risk for listeriosis complications, that experience flu-like symptoms, should seek immediate medical attention.