Listeriosis is a disease caused by the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes.

It is a rare and potentially serious disease in pregnant women and newborns.

Listeriosis : What is it ?

Listeriosis is a disease caused by the bacterium Listeria Monocytogenes. This bacterium is widespread in our environment and can be found in food, even if it is refrigerated. Human contamination with Listeria is therefore mainly foodborne.

It is a rare and potentially serious disease in pregnant women and newborns.

This bacterium is very resistant in the external environment, can develop at low temperatures (4°C in refrigerators) and can resist freezing. It is destroyed after cooking.

Human contamination by Listeria is essentially food (dairy products, in particular cheeses made from raw milk, certain delicatessen products, seafood, plants).

Where does  Listeria Monocytogènes hide ?  

This bacterium is most frequently found in :

_CRU milk products, especially soft cheeses
_ Cold cuts, raw or undercooked meats
_Raw vegetables
_ Smoked fish and seafood

What are the symptoms ? 

_ For pregnant woman : Listeriosis results in a high or low fever, accompanied by headaches and sometimes also digestive problems (e.g. nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, etc.).

Neurological symptoms are sometimes present.

_ For the foetus : The consequences can be serious. 

If the disease is not treated or goes unnoticed in a pregnant woman, it can cause miscarriage, premature delivery, or infection of the newborn.

How is the screening carried out? 

The diagnosis of listeriosis is made by blood culture in case of fever.

There is no valid serology for this bacterium.

What is the treatment ?

Listeria can be treated with appropriate antibiotics.

It is essential to protect yourself and to seek medical advice if you have symptoms.

As far as hygiene is concerned, the usual recommendations are in order :

_ Regular hand washing
_Regular cleaning of the refrigerator (once a month)
_Respecting the use-by dates of food
_Separate raw products (e.g. meat, vegetables) from cooked or ready-to-eat foods

Finally, if, despite these preventive measures, an infection occurs, an antibiotic treatment will be administered to the baby or the mother, depending on the case.

How to protect yourself ?

_ Avoid raw milk cheeses (and those sold grated).

_ Avoid smoked or raw fish (sushi, sashimi, tarama, etc.) and raw shellfish.

_ Avoid charcuterie, especially rillettes, jellied products, pâtés and foie gras. Pre-packaged cooked meats should be preferred to those in cuts..

_ Preferably remove the rind from hard cheeses.

_ Carefully wash raw vegetables, herbs and sprouts (e.g. soybeans).

_ Cook meat and fish thoroughly.

Ketterthill pregnancy booklet

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