Listeria Poses High Risk for Pregnant Women, Elderly and More

Published 03/27 2014 09:14PM

Updated 03/27 2014 09:16PM

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- A bacteria called Listeria has been making the headlines recently after the sentencing of the owners of a Colorado farm.

It was a 2011 outbreak of the bacteria from that farm that caused people to get sick and killing 33 people.

Listeriosis is a food born illness. It’s caused by Listeria, bacteria found in soil and water.

It grows in cold temperatures and is widespread in nature. It usually contaminates unpasteurized milk products, soft cheese, raw vegetables, beef and poultry.

Listeria can nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, but it’s usually self-limiting

So, who is at risk?

It can be seen in those with weakened immune systems, elderly, newborns and pregnant women.

Twenty percent of infected pregnant women present with still birth.

Also, those who take antacids are more prone to this infection.

Listeria can affect every organ in the body, but it usually involves the placenta and the central nervous system.

Symptoms consist of fever, diarrhea, stomach pain, weakness, a flu-like feeling, and headaches.

Listeriosis is usually treated with supportive care like fluids and antibiotics.

But, prevention is key.

Food contamination is the main source of infection, so protect yourself by washing vegetables, washing your hands, and avoid unpasteurized products and uncooked foods, especially if you are at high risk of infection.

This is crucial to help prevent brain and heart infections.

Diagnosis of Listeriosis is usually by blood tests, a CAT scan or MRI of the brain.

Copyright 2016 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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