Causes and Symptoms of Listeriosis

Listeriosis is a serious infection caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. The disease affects primarily pregnant women, newborns, and adults with weakened immune systems.

Approximately four to 19 cases of listeriosis are reported in Minnesota each year.

on this page:
Fact Sheets
Symptoms
Duration of Illness
Complications
Transmission

Fact Sheets

 

Symptoms

Common symptoms include:

  • fever
  • muscle aches
  • nausea
  • diarrhea

People who are not in the high-risk categories usually have no symptoms at all.

Symptoms usually begin around 3 weeks after infection (range, 3-7 days).

If infection spreads to the nervous system, other symptoms may include:

  • headache
  • stiff neck
  • confusion
  • loss of balance
  • convulsions

Infected pregnant women may experience only a mild, flu-like illness; however, infections during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage or stillbirth, premature delivery, or infection of the newborn.

Duration of Illness

  • The illness usually resolves in 5 to 10 days.

Complications

  • Infections during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage or stillbirth, premature delivery, or infection of the newborn.

Transmission

  • The bacterium has been found in a variety of raw foods, such as uncooked meats and vegetables.

  • Processed foods may also become contaminated with Listeria after processing, such as soft cheeses, hot dogs, and cold cuts or deli meats.

  • Unpasteurized (raw) milk or foods made from unpasteurized milk may contain the bacterium.

Do you suspect that you have a foodborne illness? Visit reporting suspected foodborne illnesses.

 

Updated Thursday, 29-May-2014 09:45:28 CDT