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 (3,762 Responses)
  1. DavidZen

    vacuum pump for ed best ed medications – online ed pills
    http://edmedst.com/# online drugs
    the best ed drug ed pills medication for ed

    June 13, 2021 at 01:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Irvinusany

    http://edmedst.com/# online ed meds
    real viagra without a doctor prescription ed pills best male enhancement

    June 13, 2021 at 01:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Oscarknids

    cvs prescription prices without insurance ed pills – natural treatments for ed
    http://edmedst.com/# overcoming ed
    ed doctor ed pills online pharmacy canadian drug prices

    June 13, 2021 at 02:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. covid rapid testing near me

    https://encrypted.google.com/url?rct=i&sa=t&url=https://hootnholler.net

    June 13, 2021 at 02:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. soup near me

    https://www.google.com.pr/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0caqqjrw&url=http://bestlocalnearme.com

    June 13, 2021 at 02:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. BlaineHoush

    how to help ed erectile dysfunction treatments – erection pills that work
    http://edmedst.com/# treatment with drugs

    June 13, 2021 at 03:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. ZisseVed

    purchase generic cialis is cialis a prescription drug what to do if cialis doesnt work

    June 13, 2021 at 03:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Irvinusany

    https://edmedst.com/# canadian drugs online
    ed drug comparison erectile dysfunction pills psychological ed treatment

    June 13, 2021 at 03:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. DavidZen

    cvs prescription prices without insurance generic ed drugs – online canadian pharmacy
    https://edmedst.com/# erectile dysfunction treatment
    best male enhancement erectile dysfunction pills how can i order prescription drugs without a doctor

    June 13, 2021 at 03:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Irvinusany

    https://edmedst.com/# erection pills
    ed medicine online errection problem cure top erection pills

    June 13, 2021 at 05:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Oscarknids

    ed meds online without prescription or membership generic ed drugs – herbal ed
    https://edmedst.com/# buy prescription drugs online
    buy canadian drugs erectile dysfunction pills best over the counter ed pills

    June 13, 2021 at 05:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. BlaineHoush

    generic ed pills erectile dysfunction treatments – medications for
    https://edmedst.com/# pet meds without vet prescription canada

    June 13, 2021 at 05:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. DavidZen

    erectile dysfunction remedies generic ed drugs – over the counter ed treatment
    http://edmedst.com/# mens ed pills
    prices of viagra at walmart erectile dysfunction treatments cheap medications online

    June 13, 2021 at 05:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Irvinusany

    http://edmedst.com/# best ed medications
    erectile dysfunction treatment homeopathic remedies for ed how can i order prescription drugs without a doctor

    June 13, 2021 at 06:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. DavidZen

    100mg viagra without a doctor prescription non prescription ed drugs – best erection pills
    http://edmedst.com/# ed causes and treatment
    ed cures that work ed pills canadian online pharmacy

    June 13, 2021 at 07:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. family dollar near me

    Howdy! This post couldnít be written any better! Going through this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He always kept preaching about this. I'll forward this post to him. Pretty sure he'll have a great read. Thanks for sharing!

    http://collisioninfo.org/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.wholesalenearme.com/

    June 13, 2021 at 08:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Irvinusany

    https://edmedst.com/# ed medication online
    buy prescription drugs online without erectile dysfunction pills ed in young men

    June 13, 2021 at 08:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. BlaineHoush

    how to cure ed naturally erectile dysfunction treatments – how to overcome ed naturally
    http://edmedst.com/# natural drugs for ed

    June 13, 2021 at 08:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Oscarknids

    ed pills otc erectile dysfunction treatments – medicine for ed
    https://edmedst.com/# ed meds online without doctor prescription
    ed drug comparison best male enhancement pills ed causes and cures

    June 13, 2021 at 08:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. DavidZen

    home remedies for ed drug pharmacy – buy prescription drugs online
    http://edmedst.com/# medication for ed dysfunction
    ed clinic generic ed drugs viagra without a doctor prescription walmart

    June 13, 2021 at 09:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. jobs near me

    Having read this I believed it was very enlightening. I appreciate you taking the time and energy to put this information together. I once again find myself personally spending a lot of time both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worthwhile!

    https://manwants.co.uk/_clk.php?u=https://www.quotenearme.com

    June 13, 2021 at 09:26 | 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

Leave a Reply to JbsdEncox


 

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.