Listeria is an infection which spreads from the consumption of contaminated foods. It spreads from bacteria known as listeria monocytogens. It is a common infection among the residents of the United States. The normally healthy people are not much at a risk from this particular infection. However, people with weak immune system, elderly people, newborn babies and pregnant women are much at a risk from the consumption of foods that are contaminated by the listeriosis bacteria. In the most severe form, the bacteria even attacks the cerebrospinal fluid and therefore diagnosis should be done at the earliest sign of an infection. Listeria does not pass from human to human just on the basis of contact and is hence not a contagious disease. It passes into the human cells just on the consumption of infected food items. Keeping the food in the freezer does not kill the listeria bacteria and hence proper precautions should be taken while ingesting food.
Listeria mainly spreads through the processed and preserved foods which were not done correctly and was hence infected by the listeria bacteria. Other than that consumption of unpasteurized milk, the soft cheese made from unpasteurized milk is also a chief cause behind the listeria infection. Raw vegetables which were manured with the help of listeria infected manures are also a cause behind listeria infection. Dry and cold cut meats are also a source of listeria as listeria bacteria does not die in cold and remains perfectly capable to spread further infection. Therefore, it is imperative to cook food properly and heat it on the optimum level in order to remove the listeria bacteria from the food. Foods should also be washed properly before consuming them raw, such as some vegetables and fruits. Keep a check on the safety labels of the processed food that you buy. The foods that have been recalled recently for being infested by the listeria bacteria should not be bought or consumed.
The main symptoms of listeria are a stiff neck, headache, stomach pains, fever and diarrhoea. In the normally healthy people with their immune system intact, it is possible that they will get well soon without requiring some medical attention or medications. But in the people who are comparatively vulnerable such as those suffering from chronic medical conditions like AIDS, elderly people above the age of 65 years, newborn children and pregnant women, the risk of it developing into a serious affliction is possible. Proper diagnosis should be conducted where the doctor would have to take a sample of your blood or cerebrospinal fluid or urine, in order to determine whether you are inflicted by the listeria bacteria. You may need to take an IV with medications in case you are diagnosed with the affliction. Newborn babies may need to receive a combination of various antibiotics in order to get cured from the condition. If a mother is pregnant, then she may herself experience mild symptoms of listeria but it may cause irreparable damage to the unborn baby. Hence, proper precautions should be undertaken in order to avoid getting affected with listeria.