Listeriosis: Its symptoms, risks, and complications
Listeriosis, or listeria disease, is a health condition caused by a bacterium called Listeria monocytogenes. Although this disease is self-limiting for most healthy people, at-risk individuals are prone to serious, sometimes life-threatening medical complications.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), listeriosis can be a result of consuming products contaminated with listeria. Contaminated raw sprouts, cheese and other cheese products made of unpasteurized milk, and meat spreads, delis, and hot dogs contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes may all result in listeriosis.
Individuals exposed to Listeria monocytogenes may experience confusion, weakness, fever, vomiting, stiff neck and diarrhea 3 to 70 days after exposure. If you believe you have eaten food contaminated with listeria and are experiencing one or more of these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately for accurate diagnosis and prompt treatment.
Although poor food handling may result in listeriosis, unsanitary manufacturing and packing of food products may also result in this health condition. Unfortunately, defective food packs falling through the cracks send thousands of people in emergency departments and hospitals due to food poisoning every year, resulting in millions of dollars lost due to medical expenses and loss of productivity.
According to the website of Williams Kherkher, having to deal with listeriosis due to a contaminated food product can be physically, financially, and emotionally distressful. So, here are some of the ways to ensure that what you are buying is safe from listeria contamination:
- Watch out for recalls – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is constantly providing an updated roster of recalled food products, including those that have been pulled out of the shelves due to listeria contamination.
- Buy only what you know – Buying tried and tested brands, such as those that are locally produced, may reduce your risk of contracting listeriosis.
- Ground meat should be cooked well – Unlike whole chunks of steaks, ground meats both have the inside and the surface of the meat all mixed up. When ground, the pathogens from the surface of the meat may find its way into the deepest portion of the ground beef, making it harder to kill disease-causing germs.