•If Listeria contaminates the food that you
eat or the beverages that you drink, you
can become ill with a foodborne illness.
•For the average healthy person, Listeria
poses little risk, but for a woman who is
pregnant, and for the elderly and those
with a compromised immune system,
Listeria can be deadly.
1-What is Listeria?
•Listeria monocytogenes is a form of bacteria
that infects domestic mammals, rodents and
birds. The bacteria is commonly found in
water, soil, and animal excrement. These
items can contaminate drinking water,
vegetables, meats and cheeses.
•It is the third most common cause of death
from food poisoning in the US, after
salmonella and E.coli
2-How is Listeria Spread?
•It is spread through poor hygiene practices and
through contamination through improperly cleaned,
cooked, stored and prepared foods. These can
•Eating or juicing raw fruits and vegetables that have
been contaminated from the soil
•That have been contaminated by fertilizer from
animals with listeria
•Eating meat contaminated by the Listeria bacteria
that has not been cooked properly
•Drinking unpasteurized milk or eating cheese made
from it , so called ‘raw’ milk
3-Who is Most at Risk of
•The Listeria bacteria is a very common one all
over the world. Most people will be exposed to
it at some point in their lives; however, not
everyone will become ill as a result. The CDC
estimates that 90% of Listeria cases come
from the following high-risk groups:
•Pregnant women and their infants
•People who have weakened immune systems
•People who have an existing health condition
that could weaken their resistance to illness.
4-What are the Symptoms of
•The most common symptoms are:
•In some cases, it can affect the central
nervous system and become deadly
5-How is Listeriosis
•Listeria infection can be diagnosed in a
number of ways. A sample of bodily fluids,
•cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) (if the patient is
experiencing neurological symptoms); or
•amniotic fluid, or fluid from the placenta in
pregnant women, can reveal the presence
•A stool sample is not useful in this case.
6-How Do Doctors Treat
•If the tests conducted come back positive for
Listeria, antibiotics can be used to help treat the
•In the case of newborns, they may be
prescribed more than one type in order to rid
them of the infection.
•However, not that many antibiotics are effective.
•As the CDC states: “Even with prompt
treatment, some listeriosis cases result in
death. This is particularly likely in older adults
and in persons with other serious medical
7-Symptom Alert: Diarrhea and
Vomiting and the Dangers of
•Listeriosis triggers diarrhea and vomiting
•They can both lead to dehydration
•If fluids are not replaced regularly while
the person is ill, it can lead to dehydration
•Dehydration can lead to heart issues due
to electrolyte imbalance
•It can also lead to low blood volume,
hypovolemic shock, and death
8-What are the Best Ways to
• Wash all fruits and vegetables well
• Cook thoroughly
• Consider peeling them if you have young children, are pregnant, or are
caring for an elderly person
• Buy from farmer’s markets; they are less likely to use a lot of pesticides and
• Cook all meats to the suggested safe internal temperature
• Avoid unpasteurized milk or products from it, including:
• yogurt, ice cream, or smoothies/shakes
• Soft cheeses, such as Brie, feta, and Camembert
• Eating processed deli meats (cold cuts) and hot dogs, bratwurst and so on.
They could have been contaminated during or after processing.
9-Washing Your Hands Well
•Learn how to wash your hands properly and
do it often
•Wash before and after:
•Using the bathroom
•Handling pet food or bowls
•Use hand sanitizer if there is no soap and
10-Avoiding Foodborne Illness
Through Careful Food Handling
•One of the best ways to stay safe from germs
and bacteria is to start taking more care when it
comes to choosing, washing, preparing,
cooking and eating fresh fruits and vegetables.
We all think of these foods as health foods, but
the sad fact is that as food production becomes
more and more of an industry, there have been
increasing numbers of outbreaks of foodborne
illness in everything from spinach to peanuts.
•Watch out when juicing
•Also be careful of contamination in the
refrigerator, such as blood from meat leaking
11-Cleaning the Kitchen
•Keep knives and cutting boards
•Consider color-coding the boards-red for
meat, green for veggies, and so on
•Wipe down countertops with a 1 in 6
bleach to water solution
•Use a paper towel and wipe in one
direction only, not in circles
12-Steps to Stay Safe From
•There is no way of knowing if the produce you buy is
contaminated with Listeria, Cyclospora or other germs,
but if you choose it, wash and prepare it yourself, and
be sensible about what to eat, and what to avoid, you
can significantly cut down on the risk of becoming ill.
•While listeria outbreaks are occurring, you might want
to cut down or eliminate takeout food, food from salad
bars and so on, especially if you live in one of the
•affected states reporting cases of foodborne illnesses.
Never eat the raw sprouts in a salad bar, as they are a
prime source of a variety of bacteria.
•Avoid raw food and cook all fruits and vegetables to
cut down on the risk.
•Beefing up your shopping and cleaning
routines to be more vigilant is the best
way to help protect your family from the
many foodborne illnesses presently
spreading in the United States.
•Remember, listeria can kill, so know the
signs and symptoms, and where it comes
•See your doctor for tests and watch out