Five Life-Saving Facts About Listeria

The Inquisitr reported about the tragic fate of five people — two in Minnesota and one in California — who recently passed away from listeriosis-like symptoms shortly after ingesting caramel apples reportedly tainted with the listeria monocytogenes. Meanwhile, 21 people across 10 states have been hospitalized after consuming the same pre-packaged infected treats.

Although authorities have not revealed the exact source of the listeria-ridden sweets, health officers are warning people from consuming similar items, as food inventories that are potentially infected with listeria haven’t officially been recalled from shelves.

An official warning from the CDC says, “Out of an abundance of caution, CDC recommends that U.S. consumers do not eat any commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples, including plain caramel apples as well as those containing nuts, sprinkles, chocolate, or other toppings, until more specific guidance can be provided.”

As scare of an outbreak begins to spread in the afflicted states, the Center for Disease Control and other health agencies say keeping oneself informed with the basics of listeria might help stave mass panic and even save lives. Here are a few important facts about listeria.

1. Listeria and breastfeeding

Listeria-contaminated breastmilk is not unheard of. However, according to Baby Center, there is no evidence that listeria can actually transmit directly from mother to baby through breastfeeding. That being said, it’s always safer to consult professional advice especially during times of medical panic. If you are concerned about the recent listeria cases and how it might possibly affect your breastmilk, ask your doctor about his professional opinion regarding listeria and breastfeeding.

2. Listeria death rate

Around 1,600 people are afflicted with listeriosis in the United States every year, and out of that number, 260 — or roughly one-sixth of the cases — die from the bacteria. The CDC says the people most vulnerable from listeria infections are the elderly, pregnant women, infants, and adults with weak immune systems. If you or your loved ones belong to the aforementioned age groups, food consumption must be observed with proper caution.

3. Food most commonly infected with listeria

During listeria outbreaks, consumers must steer clear of raw dairy products and unpasteurized goods. Other types of food commonly infected with listeria monocytogenes are refrigerated smoked seafood, raw sprouts, hot dogs, soft cheese, and deli meat.

4. Listeria symptoms

If you or a loved one have some of the following symptoms, consult your doctor immediately. According to about-listeria.com, listeriosis is characterized by “the sudden onset of fever, chills, severe headache, vomiting, and other influenza-type symptoms.”

The website adds, “Along these same lines, the CDC notes that infected individuals may develop fever, muscle aches, and sometimes gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea or diarrhea.”

5. Listeria prevention

According to foodsafety.gov there are a few practical ways to prevent listeriosis.

  • Do not drink raw (unpasteurized) milk, and do not eat foods that have unpasteurized milk in them.
  • Wash hands, knives, countertops, and cutting boards after handling and preparing uncooked foods.
  • Rinse raw produce thoroughly under running tap water before eating.
  • Keep uncooked meats, poultry, and seafood separate from vegetables, fruits, cooked foods, and ready-to-eat foods.
  • Thoroughly cook raw food from animal sources, such as meat, poultry, or seafood to a safe internal temperature.
  • Consume perishable and ready-to-eat foods as soon as possible
  • Persons in higher risk groups should heat hot dogs, cold cuts, and deli meats before eating them.

Consult your local doctor if you have pressing questions about listeria. Seeking professional help must always be the first step towards solving any medical concern.

[Image from Wikimedia]