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Everything You Should Know About Listeria and How to Avoid it During pregnancy

Listeria is a kind of bacteria which can be carried by some of the food items and can infect a newborn baby or even cause a miscarriage

Thus, its important for a pregnant lady to choose the food wisely.

What is Listeria?

Listeria is a bacterium that is commonly present in the environment and is carried by many farm animals and pets. Listeria is caused when the contaminated food is consumed. The risk levels of different food differ and the foods that are eaten raw or without being appropriately cooked, top the list of being the most contaminated.

The infection caused by listeria is called listeriosis. Although it is rare, still it can result in a severe hazard to the fetus and the newborn. A large number of people are hospitalized due to it, and a few cases are fatal also.

What Are The Symptoms of Listeriosis?

Usually, most of the people who contaminate with listeriosis remain healthy and show no symptoms while some may have vomiting and diarrhea, which gets solved without any medical treatment.

Usually, the symptoms are as follows:

  1. Mild fever
  2. A Headache
  3. Diarrhoea
  4. Nausea
  5. A Cough
  6. Cold
  7. Muscles aches and joint pain

In certain rare cases, listeria can cause life-threatening symptoms that are as:

  • Blood poisoning
  • Meningitis
  • Infection of the brain.

In the above cases the symptoms are as follows:

  1. high fever
  2. stiff neck
  3. confusion
  4. headache
  5. sleepiness
  6. seizures

Listeriosis During Pregnancy And Newborn Babies 

Listeriosis is rare but can affect anyone, in case a pregnant lady gets affected by listeriosis it can result in miscarriage, stillbirth or premature birth. Also, newborn babies, if infected with listeriosis from their mother, can get affected with meningitis, blood poisoning or some other severe infections. However, if the mother is infected with listeriosis, there is no chance that baby can get infected with the same.

Listeriosis Diagnosis

If you feel that you have been infected with listeriosis, you need to consult the doctor and let him know the food that you have eaten. Laboratory tests can confirm the same.

Treatment of Listeriosis

Listeriosis can be cured through antibiotics, and in case if a pregnant lady is affected by listeriosis, immediate treatment should be started.

How To Prevent Listeriosis?

The best way to avoid listeriosis is avoiding the high-risk food and follow hygienic techniques with food.

Here is the list of food that falls into the category of high risk:

  • soft and semi-soft cheeses
  • food at ready to eat salad bars
  • ready to eat meals
  • soft serve ice-cream
  • unpasteurized dairy products
  • pate
  • raw seafood
  • unwashed raw vegetables
  • prepared meats

Hygienic techniques when coming to handling the food to avoid listeriosis are as follows:

  • cook the food thoroughly
  • if you are eating raw fruits or vegetables first clean them properly
  • clean the dishes, knives, chopping boards and cookware
  • thaw frozen meats in the fridge
  • keep the leftover food immediately in the fridge
  • depending on the level of being cooked segregate the different food items, like ready to eat, uncooked, cooked, etc.
  • always wash your hands before preparing the food and after touching the animals or pets.

Even if you do not see any strong symptoms, visit the doctor, so that the situation can be controlled well in time.


  • Immunity Badao – Bimari Bhagao