‘Listeria monocytogenes’ is a toxic bacterium found in refrigerated, readymade foods like meat, seafood, unpasteurized milk, milk products and yield gathered from soil polluted with listeria monocytogenes. Most of the animals affected by this bacterium show no symptoms. As a result foods made from such animals constitute this bacterium.
The bacterium grows best in foods stored at refrigerator temperatures which when consumed cause ‘Listeriosis’- a condition to which pregnant women and their expected children are subjected to. Surveys prove that pregnant women are prone to Listeriosis ten times more than any other healthy adults.
Symptoms of Listeriosis
You are likely to notice the following symptoms of Listeriosis after a few days of consuming the contaminated food items:
- Muscle pain
When the illness of Listeriosis spreads to the nervous system, the symptoms are as follows:
- Firm neck
Symptoms at the time of pregnancy and for newborn children include:
- Less interest for feeding
Most of the time pregnant women become affected by listeriosis but remain unaware because there are not many symptoms. They unknowingly pass the disease to their newborn child and such condition may prove to be fatal both for the mother and child. Doctor’s advice is to be sought in such situations.
How does a Baby Get Affected by Listeriosis?
Miscarriages or still birth are caused by Listeriosis during the first trimester of pregnancy. Mothers are at a risk during the third trimester. Sometimes premature birth or infant deaths occur as a result of listeriosis. Health issues like mental retardation, lack of sight, impairments of heart, brain or kidney may occur from listeriosis disease. Blood infections and meningitis are also the possible health problems affected from listeriosis in newborn.
Prevention from Listeriosis
Below given are some ways to prevent the condition
- Cook meat, fish and poultry perfectly- All the food items prepared from meat, fish and poultry needs to be cooked properly. Use of food thermometer is preferred to check whether all the food is cooked efficiently.
- Reheat the leftover food properly- Take proper care to reheat the leftover cooked food perfectly since there are possibilities of bacterial growth in the food when kept under refrigeration. Such leftover food items when microwaved should be warmed up efficiently.
- Non consumption of deli foods- Avoid consumption of deli foods without cooking it until steaming hot.
- Avoid usage of unpasteurized milk- Raw cow as well as goat milk needs to be avoided from consumption. Do not eat soft cheese. Rather hard cheese and cream cheese are preferred more.
- Wash fruits and vegetables before consumption- Take utmost care to wash and peel all fruits and vegetables before eating them.
- Avoid sprouts– Intake of sprouts has proved to be risky for pregnant woman as it causes Listeriosis.
- Make it a habit to clean dishcloths and sponges – Regularly clean all the dishcloths and sponges used to clean the utensils as untidiness and dirt make way for growth of bacteria. Always use clean towel to wipe the dishes used for eating purpose.
- Check your refrigerator temperature – Always keep the temperature of your fridge adjusted between 35 degree to 40 degree Fahrenheit. The freezer temperature needs to be adjusted below zero degree.
- Quick consumption of perishable food items – Do not keep perishable food items for too long.
Listeriosis is managed by IV antibiotics that are capable of treating infection and protect the newborn baby as well.