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Listeriosis is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes, which can be found in soil, sludge and water, and can be transmitted through consumption of contaminated water and food, such as unpasteurized milk, cheeses, vegetables, fruits of the sea and sausage.
The infection can often be asymptomatic, however symptoms can appear in children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with chronic diseases, as the immune system is compromised. The initial symptoms of listeriosis can be confused with those of the flu, as there is fever, body pain and chills, for example, however it is common to have body aches and diarrhea, for example.
To avoid this bacteria, it is important to always wash your hands and food before consuming it, in addition, whenever there is confirmation of listeriosis, notify the he alth surveillance so that the cause of the infection can be investigated.
Listeriosis symptoms can vary from 3 to 60 days after contact with the bacteria responsible for the disease. In addition, the intensity of symptoms can vary according to the general state of he alth, with symptoms being more severe when the immune system is most weakened. The main symptoms of listeriosis are:
- Muscle pain;
- High fever, above 38ºC;
- Loss of appetite;
In more serious and rare cases, Listeria monocytogenes can spread through the bloodstream and reach the nervous system, where it can cause meningitis, which is an inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain. In addition, infection in pregnant women can be serious and result in death of the baby, premature delivery, or infection at the time of delivery.
Therefore, it is important that in the presence of signs and symptoms of listeriosis, the person consults the general practitioner so that tests are carried out to help confirm the diagnosis, and blood tests can be carried out and the search for bacteria in the feces, gastric lavage, placenta or amniotic fluid, in the case of pregnant women.
How the transmission happens
Transmission of the agent Listeria monocytogenes occurs mainly from the consumption of contaminated water and foods, such as unpasteurized milk, dairy products, fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, smoked and frozen seafood, and sausages, such as sausage.
This bacteria is resistant to all stages of food processing and handling and, therefore, can be found in small concentrations in properly processed foods. However, the presence of the bacteria in the food is not necessarily capable of causing disease, unless the storage conditions are not respected, which may favor the proliferation of the bacteria. See how to properly store food.
Treatment of listeriosis
The treatment of listeriosis is done with the use of antibiotics, and the doctor usually recommends the use of Penicillin or Ampicillin associated with Aminoglycosides, such as Gentamicin. In case of allergy to Penicillin, the doctor may indicate as an alternative the use of Sulfamethoxazole-Trimethoprim, also known as Bactrim.
In addition, in case the person has vomiting and diarrhea, it is important to drink plenty of water and make use of homemade saline solution, as it is possible to prevent dehydration, in addition to having a light and easy diet. digestion.
How to prevent
To avoid contamination by Listeria monocytogenes and, consequently, the development of listeriosis, it is important to adopt some hygiene measures, such as:
- Wash hands before meals;
- Wash foods such as fruits and vegetables well before eating;
- Properly store food;
- Keep the fridge clean;
- Avoid consumption of unpasteurized foods.
Furthermore, to avoid new cases of listeriosis, it is important to inform the he alth surveillance of the case so that it is possible to carry out an investigation of the initial point of infection and, thus, be able to implement more effective prevention measures.