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How do you know if you have listeriosis?
There is no routine screening test for listeriosis during pregnancy, as there is for rubella and some other congenital infections. If you have symptoms such as fever or stiff neck, consult your doctor. A blood or spinal fluid test (to cultivate the bacteria) will show if you have listeriosis. During pregnancy, a blood test is the most reliable way to find out if your symptoms are due to listeriosis.
What should you do if you've eaten a food recalled because of Listeria contamination?
The risk of an individual person developing Listeria infection after consumption of a contaminated product is very small. If you have eaten a contaminated product and do not have any symptoms, we do not recommend that you have any tests or treatment, even if you are in a high-risk group. However, if you are in a high-risk group, have eaten the contaminated product, and within 2 months become ill with fever or signs of serious illness, you should contact your physician and inform him or her about this exposure.
Can listeriosis be treated?
When infection occurs during pregnancy, antibiotics given promptly to the pregnant woman can often prevent infection of the fetus or newborn.
Babies with listeriosis receive the same antibiotics as adults, although a combination of antibiotics is often used until physicians are certain of the diagnosis. Even with prompt treatment, some infections result in death. This is particularly likely in the elderly and in persons with other serious medical problems.
What is the government doing about listeriosis?
Government agencies and the food industry have taken steps to reduce contamination of food by the Listeria bacterium. The Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture monitor food regularly. When a processed food is found to be contaminated, food monitoring and plant inspection are intensified, and if necessary, the implicated food is recalled.
The Coordinating Center for Infectious Diseases (CCID) is studying listeriosis in several states to help measure the impact of prevention activities and recognize trends in disease occurrence. CCID also assists local health departments in investigating outbreaks. Early detection and reporting of outbreaks of listeriosis to local and state health departments can help identify sources of infection and prevent more cases of the disease.
Last Editorial Review: 10/21/2010 8:25:44 PM