Listeria Infection: A Foodborne Infection Killing Approximately 300 People Every Year
Listeria bacteria are an all-too-common source of food poisoning. The Texas Listeria Injury Lawyers at Hill Law Firm track food poisoning outbreaks in the news and know the dangers of listeria. According to a 2011 report by the Centers for Disease Control, nearly 300 people die each year from Listeria infections, also known as listeriosis.
The Listeria bacteria can be found in raw animal products, such as meat and dairy products, and they are commonly found in raw foods. Vegetables can be contaminated by soil and water carrying Listeria bacteria. It can also live in food processing plants and contaminate a variety of processed meats. Unlike many other foodborne contaminants, Listeria bacteria can grow even in the cold temperature of the refrigerator. Listeria is killed by cooking and pasteurization.
Among the most common sources for Listeria in the past have included ready-to-eat deli meats, pâtés or meat spreads; unpasteurized milk and dairy products made with unpasteurized milk, refrigerated smoked seafood and raw sprouts.
While most healthy adults rarely become seriously ill from exposure to Listeria bacteria, pregnant women and newborn babies should be especially careful. If the mother eats contaminated food during pregnancy, her baby can be born with Listeriosis. The death rate among newborns diagnosed with Listeria is 25 to 50 percent. People with compromised immune systems, or those with cancer, diabetes, or kidney disease are also at greater risk from exposure to Listeria.
The symptoms of Listeria infection usually appear about three weeks after exposure, although they can appear anytime between 3 and 70 days after infection. Among the most common symptoms are fever, muscle aches and, occasionally, nausea and diarrhea. Sometimes, however, the infection can spread to the central nervous system, which can lead to symptoms such as a stiff neck, headache, confusion, loss of motor control and balance, and even convulsions, in some extreme instances. In some cases, Listeria infection can lead to meningitis or a brain infection.
Infected pregnant woman exposed to Listeria may experience mild flu-like symptoms, although sometimes the infection can lead to miscarriage, infection of the newborn, and in some extreme cases, stillbirth. If the newborn becomes infected, symptoms usually appear during the first week of life, but can also occur later on. Often, the newborn’s Listeria symptoms are subtle, and include irritability, fever, and poor feeding.
If you suspect your family or yourself have become ill from Listeria infection, seek medical attention immediately. If you believe contaminated food caused the Listeria infection, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your listeria infection. The Texas Listeria Infection Injury Attorneys at Hill Law Firm are experienced in handling food contamination injury cases in the Houston and San Antonio areas. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed by food contamination, please call the Texas Listeria Food Poisoning Injury Lawyers at Hill Law Firm today!