Listeriosis – causes, incubation period, and consequences
Listeria is a very resilient bacteria that can cause listeriosis. Listeriosis is a foodborne infection caused by contaminated food.
- Animal products can trigger listeriosis. Especially raw meat, raw fish, and raw dairy products.
- But these bacteria can also occur in vegetable products and products that have already been heated, such as cooked ham.
- The bacteria survive the refrigerator, the freezer, and even low-oxygen environments such as vacuum packaging.
- With temperatures above 70 degrees, however, you can kill the bacteria. So always fry, bake and cook everything well if you want to be sure that your food is not contaminated.
- Listeriosis has an average incubation period of around 3 weeks. However, the incubation period can vary quite widely, ranging from a few days to up to three months.
- However, as a healthy person, you don’t have that much to worry about from listeriosis. Ingested listeria is sometimes not noticeable at all.
- Symptoms can be vomiting, nausea, gastrointestinal complaints, fever, and body aches.
- In the case of mild listeriosis, these will subside on their own after a few days.
Listeriosis is dangerous for these people
Although listeriosis is usually uncomfortable, it is not life-threatening. The situation is different for certain groups of people who are more vulnerable due to existing impairments.
- In general, all people with a weak immune system are at risk.
- Small children and infants are affected because they do not yet have a good immune system. Older people, whose immune system has deteriorated again over the years, are also susceptible.
- People with more serious diseases such as cancer, AIDS, or even chronic diseases such as diabetes are at risk.
- People who have just had surgery should also be careful. The same applies to pregnant women, as the infection can harm the unborn child.
- If you are affected, an immediate response is important. Consult your doctor. Listeriosis can be treated with antibiotics.
- An untreated infection can lead to meningitis or blood poisoning, which in the worst case can be fatal.