Facts about Listeria

What is Listeria?

Listeria is a genus of bacteria that has 10 species.

Named after the trailblazing British sterile surgeon Joseph Lister, the microbe received its name in 1940.

It is this surgeon that offered unprecedentedly larger contribution toward more scientific understanding and treatment of this fatal pathogen.

The bacterium is responsible for listeriosis which commonly affects expectant women.

The health problem also afflicts people with weak immune systems such as the elderly.


This disease is a serious health threat with a fatality case-rate of 20%.

The first documented case of Listeria happened in 1024.

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  • Pathogenesis

Where is Listeria found? Listeria relies on the natural cellular machinery to move within the cell.

Once it takes hold within a particular cell, the bacteria spreads by polymerization and pushes its way into the surrounding cells.

However, most of these bacteria are destroyed by the immune system before they affect the body.

Nevertheless, these microbes have a way of mutating over time and thus succeed to outwit the body’s immune factors.

  • scientist-with-microscope-996187_1280Epidemiology

Leading medical authorities have published a list of foods that are thought to cause Listeria outbreaks.

Such foods include deli meats, pasteurized or unpasteurized milk, cheese, hot dogs, raw poultry, among several others.

Since some of these foods are important for human health, the best way to counter this health problem is to embrace preventative measures.

  • Prevention

Preventing food-borne listeriosis requires upholding impeccable sanitary standards.

Ethanol is a good sanitizer that plays a critical role against Listeria.

Quaternary ammonium can also be used together with alcohol as an anti-listeria food contact sanitizer.

As a further preventive measure, all refrigerated foods should be kept below 4C (39.2F) to prevent proliferation of this bacterium.

  • Treatment

For people who have non-invasive listeriosis, the pathogen usually remains within the digestive tract which results in mild symptoms.

In this case, most patients will only need supportive care.

Nonetheless, regular checkups to determine the extent of the bacterial infection are imperative.koli-bacteria-123081_1280

Both muscle fever and pain as a result of this infection can be treated using over-the-counter medication.

Nevertheless, you should seek the opinion of a qualified medical professional before using any over-the-counter medication to treat listerioisis or any of its symptoms.

Invasive listeriosis is worse than a non-invasive one as it spreads faster to affect the nervous system and the bloodstream.

This type can be treated by administering high-dose antibiotics intravenously.

However, its symptoms can be treated just like those of non-invasive listeriosis.

Since it is a deadly health threat, you must never hesitate visiting a qualified medic if you experience any symptoms of listeria infection.