LISTERIA can cause infections when ingested, creating a host of problems.
We explain what the symptoms are and if you can die from it. Here’s what we know.
2 Listeriosis is a rare infection caused by bacteria called listeriaCredit: Getty – Contributor
What is Listeria?
Listeria is a bacteria that can cause the infection listeriosis if ingested.
It can grow and reproduce inside the host’s cells and is one of the most virulent food based pathogens.
20 to 30 per cent of food borne listeriosis infections in high-risk individuals may be fatal.
The majority of people infected barely notice the illness but those who are high risk, such as pregnant women, babies, the elderly or those with a weakened immune system, may develop a serious infection.
2 It is caught by eating food containing the listeria bacteriaCredit: Getty – Contributor
Can you die from it?
Yes, in severe cases you can.
Three hospital patients have died from listeria from dodgy sandwiches.
Public Health England confirmed on June 7 that an investigation had been launched after six patients picked up the bug.
How do you catch it?
It is usually caught from eating food that contains the bacteria.
You can get it from many different types of food.
It mainly happens with these foods:
dairy products made from unpasteurised milk
soft cheeses, like camembert and brie
chilled ready-to-eat foods, like prepacked sandwiches, pâté and deli meats
If you have eaten these foods it does not automatically mean you will get listeria.
You should only go to the doctor if you start to feel the symptoms.
You can also catch listeria from someone else who has it, for example, if you eat food that was handled by someone who did not wash their hands.
If you get in close contact with farm animals – especially sheep and cows – when they are giving birth.
What are the symptoms?
Most people only experience mild symptoms for a few days.
a high temperature of 38C or above
aches and pains
feeling sick or vomiting
However, pregnant women, babies, those with a weak immune system and the elderly are at risk and should contact 111 immediately if they believe they have listeriosis.
You may need a blood test to determine if you’ve been infected.
You should call 999 or go to A&E if you experience more severe symptoms.
a severe headache and stiff neck
discomfort when looking at bright lights
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How do you avoid listeriosis?
Here is what you can do to avoid getting the bacterial infection:
wash your hands regularly with soap and water
wash your fruit and vegetables before eating them
store your ready-to-eat foods as recommended by the manufacturer
make sure all your hot food is hot all the way through
What is Listeria and why is it dangerous?