Listeria 101: What You Need to Know
Listeria is the third leading cause of death from food poisoning, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). An estimated 1,600 people get listeriosis each year, and about 260 die.
It’s the season for picnic eats like hot dogs, deli sandwiches and salads.
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It may also be a prime time for food-borne illness caused by the bacteria Listeria, which can be found in common foods like these. Listeria is the third leading cause of death from food poisoning, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). An estimated 1,600 people get listeriosis each year, and about 260 die.
Listeriosis is a serious infection caused by eating food contaminated with Listeria. The disease primarily affects and is dangerous to pregnant women and their babies, people with weakened immune systems and those over 65.
Listeriosis symptoms include:
Susan Rehm, MD, treats infectious diseases at Cleveland Clinic. She says the bacteria can show up in common foods, including:
Listeria is unlike many other germs because it can grow even in the cold temperature of the refrigerator.
“You need to be careful of refrigeration of produce,” says Dr. Rehm. “Keep the temperature of the refrigerator at less than 40 degrees.”
Thoroughly cleaning your countertops of excess soil and water is essential, too, in decreasing the risk of Listeria contamination, adds Dr. Rehm.