Listeria During Pregnancy

Listeria During Pregnancy


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Listeria and Pregnancy

Listeriosis is an acute infectious disease caused by the Listeria bacteria transmitted via many ways. Listeria bacteria can be both harmless and very dangerous for humans. That is why, the prevention of Listeriosis during the pregnancy is very important.

Listeriosis: The Way of Transmission

This disease has no pronounced symptoms. The infection is commonly transmitted via consuming unpasteurized milk, meat and water. Listeria can be transmitted from the infected humans and animals.

Symptoms and Course of Illness

Healthy people usually don't notice that they have Listeriosis due to their strong immune system that don’t show any symptoms. However, even if they are present, they are similar to flu symptoms: fever, chill, weakness and headaches. In severe cases may occur diarrhea.

The immune system of a healthy person is strong enough to cope with Listeriosis. However, persons with weakened immune systems, sick or elderly people lack this protection. In severe cases, Listeriosis can lead to inflammation of the brain membrane, sepsis and even death.

Listeriosis in Pregnancy: Is it Dangerous?

Listeria During Pregnancy 1

As there are a lot of infectious agents and the pregnant’s immune system is weakened by the infection, individual Listeria bacteria can survive in the acid environment of the stomach and penetrate in the intestine causing local inflammation. The risk of severe consequences of the Listeriosis in pregnant women is very high. The infection causes short occurrences of high temperature, shivering, headaches. However, despite weak symptoms, infectious agents can penetrate through the placenta to the fetus.

As the baby’s immune system o is not formed yet, this disease can affect him gravely. In early pregnancy it can cause a miscarriage, on the late terms of pregnancy - damage of the internal organs (brain, liver, lungs). Children with such lesions have low survival chances. During the birth or after that, the child can also be exposed to the Listeriosis infection. However, such a later infection usually has no serious consequences.

If the infection is detected, the pregnant can be assigned to a course of antibiotics. It is worse if the disease is asymptomatic, in such cases the therapy is assigned when the fetus already has serious development abnormalities.

Prevention Listeriosis in Pregnancy

  • The pregnant shouldn’t consume products stored more than 24 hours after they were cooked.
  • It is not recommended to defrost your food for long periods of time outdoors, as it triggers the intensive bacterial growth. It’s better to use a microwave oven to defrost products.
  • In addition, it is important to cook and reheat food properly, as refrigerated parts can also contain infectious agents.
  • It is also important to keep your refrigerator clean and store food separately, because the Listeria bacteria can grow at +4C.
  • It is recommended to use separate cutting boards for meat and vegetables.
  • After cooking raw meat wash your hands with soap.
  • To reduce the risk of infection, we recommend you to wash your hands after the contact with money, hair and after using the toilet.

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