Health

Cheese With Listeria Linked To 2 Deaths: What You Should Know About Listeria

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A Listeria outbreak has been putting peoples’ life at risk in the U.S. Listeria is the food borne illness or food poisoning infection caused by the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes.

On March 9 it was reported that six people were hospitalized in various places like Connecticut, Florida and Vermont due to Listeria infection. There were also two fatalities that occurred in Vermont and Connecticut.

It is believed that the Ouleout cheese was the major causing factor for the outbreak. The cheese was already sold in places like Washington DC, California, Chicago and Portland as the makers admitted.

The government urged the population to remove the cheese from their storages and coolers, and to immediately return the product to the manufacturer and ask for a refund.

Breeding Grounds Of Listeria

Listeria bacteria are found in soil, water and also in certain other animals like poultry and cattle. It is present in raw milk and in those foods that are prepared with raw milk. The bacteria can also survive and grow on food that are stored in cold places like refrigerators and can only be eliminated if the food is cooked or pasteurized.

The various breeding grounds of these particular bacteria are deli meats, hot dogs, refrigerated meat spreads, unpasteurized or raw milk and other dairy products. Furthermore soft cheese that is made with unpasteurized milk, smoked seafood and raw sprouts are also breeding grounds of Listeria.

Symptoms of Listeria

The various symptoms of the infection are fever, diarrhoea, along with fatigue, muscle pain and headache. Individuals also suffer through stiff neck, loss of balance, convulsions if infected with Listeria infection.

Who Is at Risk?

Pregnant women, newborns, adults aged 65 or above, and people who have damaged or weakened immune system are more prone to catch the infection.

It also affects people who go through organ transplant or are suffering from HIV or AIDS or other autoimmune diseases, cancer patients and end stage renal patients. Reports have shown that Listeria also affects people with problems like alcoholism and diabetes.

“Pregnant Hispanic women are 24 times more likely than the general population to get Listeria infection,” states the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on its website

How To Prevent Listeria Infection?

Viewing the current scenario, scientists and health officials have started alerting people about Listeria and its preventive measures. People are advised to wash hands, knives and cutting boards after preparing uncooked food.

People are strictly asked to thoroughly wash raw food under tap water. Heath officials are also advising people to keep uncooked meat, seafood or poultry away from vegetables and fruits.



Health officials are advising people to cook food thoroughly before consumption and are also recommending them to consume as little ready-to-eat food as possible.

Photo: Mark Bonica | Flickr

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