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- Listeriosis (Listeria monocytogenes infection) facts
- What is listeriosis? What causes listeriosis?
- What are the risk factors for listeriosis?
- Is Listeria contagious?
- How is listeriosis spread?
- What are listeriosis symptoms and signs?
- What is the incubation period for Listeria?
- How long does a Listeria infection last?
- What types of doctors treat listeriosis?
- How do health care professionals diagnose listeriosis?
- What is the treatment for listeriosis?
- Are there home remedies for listeriosis?
- How does a person get listeriosis?
- What are the complications of listeriosis?
- Is it possible to prevent listeriosis?
- What is the prognosis for Listeria infections?
- If a person has eaten recalled food potentially contaminated with Listeria, what should he or she do?
- What is the government doing about listeriosis?
Quick GuideBacterial Infections 101: Types, Symptoms, and Treatments
What are listeriosis symptoms and signs?
- Fever, muscle aches, and occasionally, gastroenteritis (nausea and/or diarrhea) are the usual symptoms associated with listeriosis.
- Some individuals may also experience fatigue and a decrease or loss of appetite.
- These symptoms usually last up to one week and may spontaneously resolve.
However, in some people, the organisms can spread to the brain.
- The symptoms of meningitis and/or encephalitis (stiff neck, headache, and fever) may appear, including altered mental status (confusion and reduced mental activity),
- Loss of balance problems and seizures (convulsions) may develop in brain infections.
- Brain abscesses may also occur and cause similar symptoms.
What is the incubation period for Listeria?
Pregnant women who are otherwise healthy usually have only minor symptoms. However, being infected with Listeria during pregnancy often cause problems for the fetus:
- premature birth, or
- cause infection and,
- potentially, death of newborns.
Breastfeeding in humans has not been shown to transmit the bacteria to newborns; however, animal studies show the organisms are transferred in breast milk of other mammalian species. Researchers consider it is theoretically possible for the organisms to be transmitted in human breast milk.
Occasionally, localized skin infections may occur, especially in people who handle animals that are infected with Listeria. These skin infections rarely lead to further complications such as brain infection.
How long does a Listeria infection last?
Normal healthy people who become infected with Listeria usually recover from the infection. However, more serious infections that require antibiotic treatment may last longer. For example, if abscesses develop in the brain, the antibiotic therapy will be required for about six weeks.