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Listeria Infection During Pregnancy

Listeria is a type of bacteria carried in some foods that can lead to miscarriage or cause infection in new born baby, if untreated. Mostly it is contracted by consuming improperly processed meats and unpasteurised milk products. Pregnant women are significantly more susceptible to listeria infections than are other healthy adults.

Listeria bacteria can survive refrigeration and even freezing. So, people who are at higher risk of serious infections should avoid eating the types of food most likely to contain the bacteria.

Many people exposed to listeria remain healthy. Some have no symptoms, while others have fever, muscle aches, nausea and diarrhoea, which is normally resolved without medical treatment. If the infection spreads to nervous system, signs and symptoms may include headache, stiff neck, confusion or changes in alertness, loss of balance and convulsions.

Though a listeria infection may cause only a mild illness in the mother, the consequences for the baby may include miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth or a potentially fatal infection after birth.

Steps to prevent listeria infection

Keep things clean. Wash your hands with warm, soapy water before and after handling or preparing food.

Properly clean raw vegetables before cooking

Cook your food thoroughly.

Eat only properly processed meat

Avoid unpasteursed milk and milk products

If you experience fever, muscle aches, nausea or diarrhea, contact your doctor. The same goes for illness after eating a potentially contaminated food product.

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