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 (2,039 Responses)
  1. Thomasweica

    generic for amoxicillin: buy amoxil – amoxicillin buy canada
    https://amoxilst.com/# amoxicillin 500 mg tablet price
    diflucan 150 mg caps where can i get diflucan diflucan otc where to buy

    April 13, 2021 at 20:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. PhilipBom

    order doxycycline 100mg without prescription: doxycycline generic – doxylin
    https://diflucanst.com/# where can i get diflucan online

    April 13, 2021 at 21:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Thomasweica

    diflucan buy nz: diflucan – can i buy diflucan from canada
    https://amoxilst.com/# amoxicillin without prescription
    doxycycline vibramycin 100mg doxycycline doxycycline mono

    April 13, 2021 at 22:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. RogerIsoto

    http://clomidst.com/# clomid online cheap
    doxycycline 100mg online doxycycline generic doxycycline 100mg tablets

    April 13, 2021 at 22:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. PhilipBom

    doxycycline generic: doxycycline generic – doxycycline hyclate 100 mg cap
    http://clomidst.com/# clomid 100mg

    April 13, 2021 at 23:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Thomasweica

    diflucan generic cost: diflucan 150mg prescription – where to get diflucan otc
    http://doxycyclinest.com/# odering doxycycline
    clomid purchase [url=https://clomidst.com/#]clomid generic[/url] clomid pills

    April 14, 2021 at 00:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. RogerIsoto

    https://amoxilst.com/# buy amoxicillin from canada
    diflucan over the counter usa diflucan without a doctor prescription how to get diflucan otc

    April 14, 2021 at 01:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Thomasweica

    diflucan 200mg: diflucan tablet price – diflucan uk price
    http://diflucanst.com/# diflucan prescription uk
    buy doxycycline hyclate 100mg without a rx buy doxycycline doxycycline without prescription

    April 14, 2021 at 02:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. PhilipBom

    buy doxycycline hyclate 100mg without a rx: doxycycline antibiotic – doxycycline 50mg
    https://doxycyclinest.com/# doxycycline 50 mg

    April 14, 2021 at 02:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Thomasweica

    generic amoxicillin: cheap amoxicillin – amoxicillin 250 mg
    https://clomidst.com/# clomid coupons
    amoxicillin 500mg capsule cost of amoxicillin 875 mg amoxicillin 500mg cost

    April 14, 2021 at 03:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. RogerIsoto

    https://amoxilst.com/# amoxicillin generic
    diflucan 200 mg daily cheap diflucan diflucan buy without prescription

    April 14, 2021 at 05:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. PhilipBom

    generic clomiphene: clomid – clomid tablets
    http://clomidst.com/# buying clomid online

    April 14, 2021 at 05:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Thomasweica

    buy diflucan online india: buy diflucan – diflucan 400mg without prescription
    http://doxycyclinest.com/# how to buy doxycycline online
    doxycycline pills doxycycline antibiotic doxycycline 100mg online

    April 14, 2021 at 05:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Thomasweica

    diflucan online buy: diflucan.com – diflucan 150 australia
    https://amoxilst.com/# over the counter amoxicillin
    how to buy doxycycline online doxycycline doxycycline 100 mg

    April 14, 2021 at 07:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. PhilipBom

    buy amoxil: amoxil – amoxicillin 500 capsule
    https://diflucanst.com/# diflucan daily

    April 14, 2021 at 08:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. RogerIsoto

    https://clomidst.com/# cost of clomid
    doxycycline hyc doxycycline antibiotic order doxycycline 100mg without prescription

    April 14, 2021 at 08:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Thomasweica

    purchase clomid online: clomiphene for sale – purchase clomid
    https://doxycyclinest.com/# doxycycline generic
    amoxicillin online pharmacy buy amoxil generic for amoxicillin

    April 14, 2021 at 09:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. PhilipBom

    buy doxycycline: cheap doxycycline – doxycycline 100mg price
    https://doxycyclinest.com/# buy doxycycline without prescription

    April 14, 2021 at 10:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Thomasweica

    diflucan pills prescription: diflucan 150 mg pill – can you buy diflucan over the counter in australia
    https://diflucanst.com/# cost of diflucan over the counter
    diflucan tablets buy online no script 3 diflucan pills 150 mg diflucan online

    April 14, 2021 at 11:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. RogerIsoto

    http://amoxilst.com/# can you buy amoxicillin over the counter
    amoxicillin 500mg pill buy amoxicillin amoxicillin 500 mg without a prescription

    April 14, 2021 at 11:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Thomasweica

    clomid for sale: clomid generic – buy clomid online without prescription
    https://doxycyclinest.com/# doxycycline generic
    amoxicillin buy online canada where to get amoxicillin over the counter cheap amoxicillin 500mg

    April 14, 2021 at 13:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. PhilipBom

    order amoxicillin uk: over counter antibiotics pills amoxicillin – amoxicillin 250 mg price in india
    http://clomidst.com/# buy clomid 50mg

    April 14, 2021 at 13:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. RogerIsoto

    http://doxycyclinest.com/# purchase doxycycline online
    doxycycline hyc doxycycline generic doxycycline without a prescription

    April 14, 2021 at 14:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Thomasweica

    buy amoxicillin canada: buy amoxicillin – amoxicillin brand name
    https://clomidst.com/# buy clomiphene online
    buy diflucan 1 diflucan brand name 300mg where can i buy over the counter diflucan

    April 14, 2021 at 15:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. PhilipBom

    buy amoxicillin 500mg online: buy amoxicillin – buy amoxil
    https://clomidst.com/# clomid prescription

    April 14, 2021 at 16:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. RogerIsoto

    http://doxycyclinest.com/# cheap doxycycline online
    buy clomiphene online clomid alcohol clomid purchase

    April 14, 2021 at 16:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Thomasweica

    clomid 50 mg: cheap clomid online – buy clomiphene
    https://doxycyclinest.com/# doxycycline mono
    doxycycline mono doxycycline generic buy doxycycline online uk

    April 14, 2021 at 16:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Thomasweica

    clomid 100 mg tablet: cheap clomid – clomid online cheap
    https://clomidst.com/# clomid alcohol
    buy clomid purchase clomid online clomid online cheap

    April 14, 2021 at 18:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. RogerIsoto

    https://amoxilst.com/# medicine amoxicillin 500mg
    amoxicillin buy online canada over counter antibiotics pills amoxicillin rexall pharmacy amoxicillin 500mg

    April 14, 2021 at 19:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. PhilipBom

    amoxicillin generic: cheap amoxicillin – amoxicillin 500
    http://doxycyclinest.com/# doxycycline hyc

    April 14, 2021 at 19:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Thomasweica

    buy amoxicillin over the counter uk: how much is amoxicillin – amoxicillin discount coupon
    http://diflucanst.com/# where can i buy diflucan without prescription
    can we buy amoxcillin 500mg on ebay without prescription amoxicillin without a doctors prescription how to get amoxicillin

    April 14, 2021 at 20:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. RogerIsoto

    https://amoxilst.com/# where can i get amoxicillin 500 mg
    where can you buy amoxicillin over the counter amoxil amoxicillin 500 mg for sale

    April 14, 2021 at 21:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. PhilipBom

    where can i buy amoxicillin online: amoxicillin without a doctors prescription – amoxicillin 875 mg tablet
    http://amoxilst.com/# amoxicillin 500 mg price

    April 14, 2021 at 22:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Thomasweica

    diflucan otc where to buy: buy fluconazole – diflucan discount
    http://clomidst.com/# where to buy clomid
    amoxicillin 500mg buy online canada buy amoxil amoxicillin 500 tablet

    April 14, 2021 at 22:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. RogerIsoto

    https://doxycyclinest.com/# doxycycline pills
    can you order diflucan online diflucan 150mg prescription buy diflucan 150 mg

    April 14, 2021 at 23:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Thomasweica

    clomid: clomiphene for sale – clomid order online
    https://doxycyclinest.com/# doxylin
    amoxicillin 500 mg online where to buy amoxicillin pharmacy buy amoxicillin online uk

    April 15, 2021 at 00:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. PhilipBom

    clomid pills: clomiphene for sale – clomid online cheap
    https://doxycyclinest.com/# buy cheap doxycycline online

    April 15, 2021 at 00:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. RogerIsoto

    http://clomidst.com/# buy cheap clomid
    can i purchase amoxicillin online amoxicillin without a doctors prescription amoxicillin script

    April 15, 2021 at 02:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Thomasweica

    cheap diflucan online: diflucan tablet price – diflucan tablet uk
    http://clomidst.com/# where can i buy clomid
    diflucan 150 mg over the counter diflucan tablet 500mg diflucan usa

    April 15, 2021 at 02:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. PhilipBom

    where can i get amoxicillin: cheap amoxicillin – amoxicillin 500mg prescription
    http://amoxilst.com/# amoxicillin 775 mg

    April 15, 2021 at 03:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Thomasweica

    cheap clomid: clomiphene for sale – order clomid online
    http://diflucanst.com/# where to buy diflucan in singapore
    buy clomiphene online clomid canada buy clomiphene

    April 15, 2021 at 04:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. RogerIsoto

    https://doxycyclinest.com/# where can i get doxycycline
    buy generic doxycycline cheap doxycycline generic doxycycline

    April 15, 2021 at 05:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Thomasweica

    clomid buy online: clomiphene for sale – clomid without prescription
    https://diflucanst.com/# buy cheap diflucan online
    clomid uk buy clomid order clomid online

    April 15, 2021 at 06:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. PhilipBom

    online doxycycline: how to buy doxycycline online – doxycycline tablets
    https://doxycyclinest.com/# doxycycline 100mg price

    April 15, 2021 at 06:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Thomasweica

    cost of amoxicillin prescription: amoxicillin 500 mg tablet price – amoxicillin 500mg capsules antibiotic
    https://diflucanst.com/# diflucan tablet india
    clomid pills buy clomid no prescription clomid

    April 15, 2021 at 08:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. RogerIsoto

    https://amoxilst.com/# amoxil pharmacy
    buy diflucan cheap buy diflucan can i buy diflucan without a prescription

    April 15, 2021 at 08:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. PhilipBom

    clomid without prescription: clomiphene citrate – buying clomid online
    https://doxycyclinest.com/# doxycycline pills

    April 15, 2021 at 09:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Thomasweica

    diflucan over the counter usa: diflucan 1 pill – how much is over the counter diflucan
    http://clomidst.com/# clomid purchase online
    clomid online purchase where to buy clomid where can i buy clomid

    April 15, 2021 at 09:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. RogerIsoto

    http://doxycyclinest.com/# doxycycline 150 mg
    diflucan tablets price diflucan mexico diflucan no prescription

    April 15, 2021 at 11:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Thomasweica

    over the counter diflucan 150: diflucan tablet price – diflucan online
    https://clomidst.com/# clomid purchase online
    diflucan in usa diflucan tablet price diflucan over the counter singapore

    April 15, 2021 at 11:49 | 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

Post a comment


 

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.