home
RSS
What you need to know about Listeria monocytogenes
September 28th, 2011
12:35 PM ET

What you need to know about Listeria monocytogenes

With an outbreak of sickness linked to  bacteria-tainted cantaloupe now reported in more than a dozen states, here's a quick backgrounder on listeria monocytogenes.

What is it?
Listeria monocytogenes is a “hardy” bacterium that is resistant to extreme hot and cold. This bacterium is pathogenic – meaning that it is infectious to humans, causing the illness listeriosis.

Where does it come from?
Listeria is found in soil, water and the intestines of some animals. Unfortunately, most animals show no symptoms so the bacterium is transferred to raw foods such as unpasteurized dairy products, raw vegetables and raw meats. And unlike similar types of bacteria, listeria can grow in the low temperatures of a refrigerator.

Studies also suggest that up to 10% of humans may be carriers. The FDA says that when listeria gets into a factory environment it can live for several years.

But how did it get inside of cantaloupes?
Cantaloupes and other fruits with porous surfaces can become infected by listeria when soil and/or water seeps through their skin. Any bacterium that remains on the outside can be transferred from the shell to the inside when the fruit is sliced open by a knife or handled.

Who is most at risk?
Listeriosis primarily affects the elderly, pregnant women, newborns, and people with weakened immune systems. In the U.S., an estimated 1,600 people become seriously ill each year; approximately 16% of these illnesses result in death. Cervical infections caused by listeriosis in pregnant women may result in spontaneous abortion during the second or third trimesters or stillbirth.

What are the symptoms of listeriosis?
The early symptoms of listeriosis are similar to those of the flu with nausea, muscle aches and a high fever. Gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea may also appear. The length of time between infection and the appearance of symptoms is unknown.

How can I protect myself?
Recommendations for keeping food safe from listeria are similar to those used to protect against other foodborne illnesses. Remember to cook meat to the USDA’s recommended temperatures and to wash all raw vegetables and fruit. Keep your fridge below 40 degrees Fahrenheit and eat leftovers within three to four days, the CDC says.

I’ve eaten a cantaloupe! What should I do?
Your risk of developing listeriosis is extremely low, even if the cantaloupe you ate was contaminated. If you do not have any symptoms you’re most likely in the clear. However, if you’re in one of the high risk groups and showed symptoms up to two months after eating a possibly contaminated product, contact your doctor.

Has this happened before?
About 800 cases of Listeria infection are diagnosed each year in the United States, along with three or four outbreaks of Listeria-associated foodborne illness. A multi-state outbreak of listeria from contaminated hot dogs and deli meats occurred in 1998, killing 21. Between 1998 and June 2009, 48 deaths from listeria-caused illnesses were reported by the CDC’s Foodborne Outbreak Online Database.

Got a question about the outbreak? Ask it below and we’ll do our best to find an answer.

To learn more visit the FDA's Bad Bug Book or the CDC's section on listeriosis.


soundoff (4,210 Responses)
  1. RobertGuili

    buy viagra online usa viagra – best place to buy generic viagra online
    http://viagrasv.online# best over the counter viagra

    June 23, 2021 at 16:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Josephdeava

    http://viagrasv.online# viagra from india
    order viagra online mexican viagra best over the counter viagra

    June 23, 2021 at 17:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. AntonioPella

    http://viagrasv.online# viagra over the counter walmart

    June 23, 2021 at 17:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. thai restaurant near me

    http://sakuratan.net/ol/rank.cgi?mode=link&id=503&url=https://nearmyspot.com/

    June 23, 2021 at 17:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Delbertwew

    cheap viagra online: cheap viagra online – price of viagra
    http://viagrasv.online# where to buy viagra
    online doctor prescription for viagra viagra generic viagra walmart

    June 23, 2021 at 18:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Google Marketing Companies

    http://bmcevoylaw.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=postfallsbootcamp.com

    June 23, 2021 at 18:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Video Marketing Consultant

    http://byteaware.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=internetmarketingsupply.com

    June 23, 2021 at 18:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. RobertGuili

    viagra cost per pill viagra – buy generic 100mg viagra online
    https://viagrasv.com/# over the counter viagra

    June 23, 2021 at 19:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. AntonioPella

    http://viagrasv.online# how much is viagra

    June 23, 2021 at 19:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Internet Marketing Businesses

    An impressive share! I've just forwarded this onto a coworker who has been conducting a little research on this. And he actually ordered me breakfast simply because I stumbled upon it for him... lol. So allow me to reword this.... Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending time to discuss this matter here on your site.

    http://digitalvsfilm.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=searchinteraction.com/

    June 23, 2021 at 19:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Delbertwew

    where to buy viagra online: viagra online usa – best place to buy viagra online
    http://viagrasv.com/# viagra over the counter walmart
    viagra without a doctor prescription usa order viagra online buy viagra online canada

    June 23, 2021 at 20:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Josephdeava

    https://viagrasv.com/# order viagra online
    buy generic 100mg viagra online viagra where can i buy viagra over the counter

    June 23, 2021 at 21:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. RobertGuili

    order viagra online buying viagra online – buy viagra online canada
    http://viagrasv.online# 100mg viagra

    June 23, 2021 at 22:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. RV Repair Store Near Me

    Excellent blog you have here.. Itís difficult to find high quality writing like yours these days. I seriously appreciate people like you! Take care!!

    https://www.okmedicalboard.org/external-link?url=https://www.ocrvmotorsports.net

    June 23, 2021 at 22:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Delbertwew

    viagra 100mg price: price of viagra – viagra cost
    http://viagrasv.com/# buy real viagra online
    buy viagra online canada buying viagra online over the counter viagra

    June 23, 2021 at 23:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. AntonioPella

    http://viagrasv.online# viagra over the counter

    June 24, 2021 at 00:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. RobertGuili

    how much is viagra where to buy viagra online – viagra discount
    http://viagrasv.online# cheap viagra online

    June 24, 2021 at 00:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Josephdeava

    https://viagrasv.com/# where to buy viagra online
    best over the counter viagra mexican viagra cheap viagra online

    June 24, 2021 at 01:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Delbertwew

    viagra 100mg price: viagra – viagra discount
    https://viagrasv.com/# order viagra online
    generic viagra walmart viagra viagra without a doctor prescription usa

    June 24, 2021 at 02:23 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84

Leave a Reply to Richardder


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.