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Listeria: Important Facts You Might Don't Know

In: How to July 9th, 2016

Listeriosis, according to Wikipedia, is a rare infectious disease caused by a microbe Listeria monocytogenes, which may be present in vegetables and animal products, in soil, in animal feed and animal excreta. Basically, livestock: goats, sheep, pigs, cows, rabbits, horses and poultry are being infected with listeriosis. Listeria bacteria gets into the organism of an animal through feed and water. The main distributors of the pathogen infection are rodents. Person can be infected with listeriosis when consuming dairy and meat products of a sick animal. Also, there are known cases of Listeria contamination in the processing of wool, feathers, fluff, hair and other raw materials of animals and birds. Listeria can enter the human body because of the consumption of unwashed vegetables and undrinkable water. There are well-known cases of human infection with Listeria through micro trauma of the skin.

Having ingested in the human body, this bacteria starts to multiply actively and penetrate deeper. The bacteria produces toxins that destroy the cells of the body. This may cause irreparable damage of the central nervous system or brain. The pathogen can enter through the mother's body in the fetus and cause irreparable harm and even death.

Symptoms of this disease are the following:

  • Listeria causes symptoms of severe food poisoning. Vomiting, nausea, diarrhea - all these features suggest that bacteria entered the human body. Listeria is currently curable, but if left untreated can cause serious harm to human health.

  • After entering the body, the incubation period of the bacteria is an average of one month. After three weeks, the disease may already invade internal organs and  penetrate into the central nervous system.

  • Once the infection gets into the central nervous system a person may experience severe headaches, convulsions, loss of consciousness. If one gets an infection in the brain death is possible.

General recommendations for the prevention of listeriosis are the following:

  • Raw vegetables and fruits should be washed under running water before eating;

  • Peeled products should also be washed;

  • Solid fruits and vegetables in the skin (such as melons and cucumbers) must also be washed and peeled;

  • Kitchen and working surfaces should be clean, chopping boards for meat and vegetables should be stored and used separately;

  • Listeria can live even in foods stored in the refrigerator, so the temperature conditions must be strictly adhered to, freezer should hold the temperature not lower than zero degrees;

  • Clean the refrigerator from the liquid separated from meat, fish or poultry in the process of defrosting (wash the refrigerator with liquid soap and warm water);

  • Meet and poultry should be thoroughly cooked. Semi-finished products must be heated in a microwave oven not less time than it is indicated in the instructions;

  • Opened canned meat can be stored in the fridge no longer than 3 days;

  • Be careful when consuming soft cheeses such as feta, brie, camembert and others;

  • Seafood should be consumed only after proper cooking;

  • Tuna, salmon and other fish products in cans are safe for consumption.

Listeriosis is a very serious diseases, which can cause quite serious consequences and affect your health negatively. You should be very careful when consuming products and be sure in their quality, as well as in the way they were grown. That is why, it is strongly recommended to follow the tips above, in order to avoid the infection. Be careful and try to do your best to be healthy.