Learn about the disease, illness and/or condition Listeria including: symptoms, causes, treatments, contraindications and conditions at ClusterMed.info.
Listeriosis (Listeria monocytogenes infection) facts
Are there home remedies for listeriosis?
There are no over-the-counter diagnostic tests for listeriosis, so it will be difficult or impossible to know if you are infected with Listeria; that makes it difficult to decide if you can treat the problem at home. Because listeriosis can be fatal in about 20%-30% of those who develop the disease, home remedies may be a dangerous option without consulting a physician. However, there are suggestions to try, like activated charcoal, syrup of ipecac, garlic, and/or alcohol-free goldenseal to treat food poisoning in general. However, before trying any of these options, you should discuss them first with your doctor.
How do health care professionals diagnose listeriosis?
Preliminary diagnosis is usually based on the patient's clinical history and physical exam, especially after the patient gives a history of likely exposure to a contaminated food source during a Listeria outbreak. Without this information, the diagnosis is difficult to sort out from many other diseases; this situation may result in a delay of treatment as the physician may do other tests to rule out other diseases such as salmonellosis, shigellosis, botulism and E. coli infections. Definitive diagnosis of listeriosis is by culturing Listeria monocytogenes bacteria from the patient's blood, cerebrospinal fluid, or amniotic fluid, usually on a medium that is selective for Listeria (for example, RAPID'L mono agar). Currently, no reliable tests are available to detect the bacteria in the stool; also, there are no reliable serological tests available (blood tests that can identify specific proteins associated with the bacteria or antibodies to the bacteria) according to the CDC.
How does a person get listeriosis?
The majority of people who get listeriosis have consumed Listeria-contaminated foods. Because the bacteria are often found in both soil and water, cultivated foods like vegetables can easily become contaminated, especially from fertilizer or animal waste. Listeria has been found in many types of raw food (even seafood) but especially in meats, vegetables, and cheeses. It has even been found in processed foods because of contamination during or after processing. After the contaminated food or fluid has been ingested, it may take up to three weeks for the organisms to cause symptoms.The fetus may become infected after the mother ingests the organisms; the bacteria apparently reach the fetus via the bloodstream. Newborn infants can acquire the bacteria during a cesarean procedure or be exposed to them while traversing the vagina.
How is listeriosis spread?
Listeriosis is mainly a food-borne disease; except in the situation in which a pregnant woman can transfer the bacteria to the fetus or newborn, the disease is not contagious from person to person.Foods that have been associated with Listeria outbreaks are many (for example, soft cheeses, yogurt, apples, smoked seafood, deli meats, hot dogs, fruits, and vegetables). There have been many outbreaks of the disease over the world; an event occurred in Texas in October 2010, tentatively related to locally processed celery; 10 people were diagnosed with listeriosis and five died. Most people infected had underlying medical problems or conditions. In 2011, approximately 146 people got infected from Listeria-contaminated cantaloupes and about 32 people died. In February 2012, over 1 million eggs were recalled after several processed in a processing plant were found to be contaminated with Listeria. The eggs were sold under the brand names of Columbia Valley Farms, GFS, Glenview Farms, Papetti's, Silverbrook, and Wholesome Farms. The egg brands were sold in 34 states. The year 2015 had at least three outbreaks of listeriosis. Bidart Brothers of Bakersfield, Calif., produced apples that eventually were determined to be contaminated with the bacteria. The organisms were first noticed in apples that were caramel coated. Hummus produced by the Sabra Dipping Company was recalled (30,000 cases of hummus) because the food was found to be contaminated with Listeria. Also in 2015, the very popular brand of ice cream, Blue Bell, caused a serious outbreak of listeriosis. The company shut down its facilities in Alabama, Oklahoma, and Texas to rid them of Listeria. During the outbreak, 10 individuals were hospitalized and three died. In 2016, CRF Frozen Foods of Pasco, Washington, recalled 11 frozen vegetable products because of Listeria contamination. Nine people were hospitalized and three died during this outbreak to date. Unfortunately, this outbreak is complicated by the fact that some of the vegetable products in the recall date back as far as 2014. Individuals who have stored frozen CRF products that date back as far as 2014 need to get rid of the potentially contaminated frozen products, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Problems with products in 2017 are listed above.
How long does a Listeria infection last?
Normal healthy people who become infected with Listeria usually recover from the infection. However, more serious infections that require antibiotic treatment may last longer. For example, if abscesses develop in the brain, the antibiotic therapy will be required for about six weeks.
If a person has eaten recalled food potentially contaminated with Listeria, what should he or she do?
The CDC recommends the following to all people. If the person has no symptoms, they recommend no tests or treatment be done. However, if the person is in a high-risk group (see risk factor section above), they recommend contacting the person's physician only if the person develops fever or signs of serious illness within two months of eating the food. The CDC makes these conservative suggestions based on the fact that the chance of developing Listeria infection, even after ingestion of a contaminated product, is very small.However, people in the high-risk groups should have no delays in contacting their doctor if they suspect symptoms of listeriosis are developing.
Is it possible to prevent listeriosis?
Yes, listeriosis can be prevented. The CDC recommends the following food safety measures:General recommendations:
Is Listeria contagious?
The bacteria are not contagious from person to person in most instances. The one exception is that a pregnant woman can transfer the bacteria to the fetus or the newborn.
What are listeriosis symptoms and signs?
What are the complications of listeriosis?
The major complications of listeriosis include
What are the risk factors for listeriosis?
The major risk factor for getting listeriosis is eating or drinking foods and liquids contaminated with Listeria bacteria. Foods and liquids that have been contaminated with animal feces or soil are the most frequently identified sources for these organisms. Drinking inadequately treated or unpasteurized liquids, especially milk products, is another source of infection.Some individuals have an increased risk for getting listeriosis. In general, people with an altered or damaged immune system have a higher risk of getting listeriosis and its more severe complications. Specifically, people at much higher risk include pregnant females, newborns, the elderly, diabetics, cancer patients, AIDS patients, patients with kidney diseases, alcoholics, and those patients undergoing any immune-suppression therapy. Most individuals who get severe infections and/or die from listeriosis have one or more of the medical problems listed above.
What is listeriosis? What causes listeriosis?
What is the government doing about listeriosis?
The following is information modified from the CDC web site in response to the above question.Government agencies and the food industry have taken steps to reduce contamination of food by the Listeria bacterium. The Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture monitor food regularly. When a processed food is found to be contaminated, food monitoring and plant inspection are intensified, and if necessary, the implicated food is recalled.The Coordinating Center for Infectious Diseases (CCID) is studying listeriosis in several states to help measure the impact of prevention activities and recognize trends in disease occurrence. CCID also assists local health departments in investigating outbreaks. Early detection and reporting of outbreaks of listeriosis to local and state health departments can help identify sources of infection and prevent more cases of the disease.In addition, the FDA publishes its list of product recalls on the Internet, and the site is frequently updated. The following web site will allow individuals to check on specific products and describe how to identify them: http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/.
What is the incubation period for Listeria?
The incubation period between exposure and symptoms is quite variable (three to 70 days, with 21 days as average) and may extend up to about two months or more according to some reports.Pregnant women who are otherwise healthy usually have only minor symptoms. However, being infected with Listeria during pregnancy often cause problems for the fetus:
What is the prognosis for Listeria infections?
Since most infections go unnoticed or only produce minor symptoms, the prognosis is excellent. However, the prognosis for people with altered or impaired immune systems range from good (with early appropriate therapy) to poor, depending on how debilitated the patient is when first infected.The pregnant woman usually has a good prognosis. However, her fetus or newborn has a good to guarded prognosis, again depending how quickly the mother or newborn is effectively treated.
What is the treatment for listeriosis?
What types of doctors treat listeriosis?
Although primary-care physicians can treat listeriosis, other specialists may be involved, especially if the illness is serious. Other specialists such as infectious-disease, critical-care, and OB/GYN physicians, especially if a woman is pregnant, are likely to be consulted. In those patients who are immunosuppressed, physicians that are treating the cause of the immunosuppression should also be consulted.
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