In the last month, multiple U.S. food-processing companies have been forced to recall various products due to possible contamination with Listeria monocytogenes, the bacterium responsible for causing Listeriosis. A few of the companies on the list are; Sprouters Northwest, GoldCoast Salads, Whole Foods Market, Knott’s Fine Foods Inc., and Delifish. The affected products range anywhere from cream cheese bagels and packaged chicken salads to cold smoked fish products and assorted sprouts, such as alfalfa, clover, etc.
Complications resulting from exposure to the Listeria bacteria are host-specific and can vary greatly from one case to the next. Most people experience symptoms commonly associated with ‘food poisoning’ such as fever and body aches, usually preceded by nausea or other gastrointestinal issues. That being said, listeriosis is considered an ‘invasive’ infection, meaning it can move beyond the gastrointestinal tract and infect other parts of the body. Those most at risk are older adults, children, and those with immunodeficient conditions. These people are susceptible to the normal symptoms as well as septicemia and meningitis in some cases. Pregnant women experience the same symptoms, but the stakes are higher as infection can also result in miscarriage, still birth, and premature delivery. Even babies that make it to term are at risk for serious infections, such as bacteremia and meningitis.
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