What is listeriosis. Symptoms, treatments and how to prevent it

What is listeriosis. Symptoms, treatments and how to prevent it

Listeriosis is a disease caused by the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes and is transmitted through the consumption of contaminated food. Here's what to watch out for.

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The recent news that the Ministry of Health has ordered the withdrawal of a batch of Porchetta from Ariccia PGI because it is contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes has raised interest in symptoms and treatment of listeriosis, an infection that derives from this bacterium.

The bacterium Listeria monocytogenes is extremely dangerous since the listeriosis, the infectious disease that it provokes, in its most aggressive manifestations can be lethal for weak subjects, such as elderly, debilitated people, newborns and pregnant women.

The most common symptoms are: fever, chills, headache, muscle and joint pain, stiff neck, loss of balance, convulsions, nausea and intestinal disorders. While in more severe forms it causes septicemia, encephalitis and meningitis. If it affects pregnant women it can cause miscarriage, premature birth, fetal death and newborn diseases. Listeriosis is treated with an antibiotic treatment.

Generally the Listeria bacterium comes into contact consuming foods that contain it, such as raw meat, unpasteurized dairy products, processed fish and vegetables ready for consumption, badly preserved foods. The infection can also occur through equipment, refrigerators and contaminated surfaces or contact with infected animals.

For those most at risk, such as pregnant women, to prevent infection, it is advisable to carry out a series of precautions such as: avoiding consuming raw milk, soft cheeses, dairy products made with unpasteurized milk, raw meat ( also underdone or undercooked), cured meats and sausages, smoked or raw fish (think of smoked salmon, sushi and sashimi) and seafood.

Since the bacterium does not survive the heat, ready-made foods must be heated to high temperatures. Fruit and vegetables must be scrupulously cleaned (even the vegetables in a ready-made bag). Be careful then to wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling raw food and clean the utensils used with those foods well. Check that the refrigerator is clean and that the food is stored at the right temperature. Foods of animal origin must be well cooked even indoors. Perishable foods left at room temperature for more than two hours should be discarded.

Category: Health
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