Listeriosis in Pregnancy

The listerosis is an infection produced by the bacteria Listeria Monocitogenes, food-borne. The bacterium is widely distributed in nature and can be found in different foods. It is frequently isolated in soil, dust, water, and from multiple sources of plant and animal.

The route of transmission of the disease in human beings did not know until the middle of the 1990s. In cases of infection during the neonatal period is via transplacental (while in veterinary cases is by direct contact).

There are groups of people who are considered risk because they are more susceptible to listeriosis, which include pregnant women, fetuses and newborns. And it is that, although infection by listeria is relatively rare, pregnant women are 20 times more likely to suffer this disease to other persons and infection can be very serious for babies.

There are authors who believe that the bacterium Listeria Monocytogenes is included in Group II (moderate risk and important datagrams) from biological agents which constitute one dietary risk, along with others such as Salmonella, Streptococcus, Rotavirus…

L. monocytogenes was isolated in certain cheeses, cold meats, sausages, smoked meats… and in a number of foods that detail later, and that should be avoided during pregnancy.

The listerosis during pregnancy

Hormonal changes during pregnancy have an effect on the immune system of the mother that makes it more susceptible to listeriosis. According to the Centers for Control and prevention of diseases, pregnant women are 20 times more likely than other healthy adults of contracting listeriosis. In fact, approximately one-third of listeriosis cases happen during pregnancy.

Listeriosis can be transmitted to the fetus through the placenta while the mother does not show signs of the disease. This infection may lead to premature delivery, abortion, labor of dead fetus, or children to term with serious, especially neurological sequelae, and can cause mental retardation.

Its symptoms are similar to the flu (chills, fever, headache), diarrhea, back pain and stomach pain; and they may occur days or weeks after ingestion of contaminated food. In case of suffering the symptoms mentioned, we must tell the doctor so that you make corresponding analyses.

When infection occurs during pregnancy, can be given certain antibiotics that can often prevent infection of the fetus or newborn. Babies with Listeriosis can receive the same antibiotics of the adult. However, even with prompt treatment, some infections can produce serious complications, so prevention is important.

Prevent listeriosis during pregnancy

Since this bacterium is widely distributed in nature, it is a threat in production and food processing environments. You can settle on surfaces that are in contact with food. However, good industrial practices and proper handling in all stages of the food chain, including production, processing, warehouses, food services and rooms in the home, can minimize the impact of this pathogen.

Pregnant women can significantly reduce the chances of getting sick from listeriosis if they carefully follow the hygiene and dietary rules for avoid the use of potentially hazardous foods. These tips are included among other recommendations for food safety during pregnancy.

  • Since Listeria can grow at temperatures of cooling (0 to 8 ° C) or lower, it is advisable to use all perishable products that are packaged or that come ready to eat as soon as possible. Observe carefully all dates of expiry of such products.
  • Frequently clean the refrigerator.
  • Control the temperature of the fridge in order to ensure that it maintains a refrigeration temperature of 5 ° C or less.
  • Wash hands with SOAP and warm water after handling any types of fresh food. Likewise, thoroughly wash cutting boards, dishes and utensils to prepare food and eat, in order to eliminate any bacteria that is able to contaminate food before it is cooked and eaten.
  • Avoid handling at the same time or join raw and cooked food.
  • wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating them raw.
  • Cook all foods well, and especially meats, seafood and fish; and avoid fish and smoked seafood (salmon, trout, cod, tuna, mackerel…).
  • Avoid meat derivatives, such as sausages, pates, cold cuts, sausages, etc., unless they are overheated to the point of emitting steam. The pates and meat products can be eaten spread canned or which have been processed for preserved without damage.
  • Reheat very well all leftovers of meals until you see the steam. The heat can help to kill any bacteria that might be present.
  • It is not recommended to eat soft cheeses such as Feta, Brie, Camembert, and moldy dough or blue-veined cheeses like Roquefort or Cabrales. You can eat safely hard cheeses (Cheddar, mozzarella), pasteurized cheeses spreads, cream cheese, cottage cheese and yogurt. Today, recommendation widespread during pregnancy is to ensure that the soft cheese is made from pasteurized milk. This is so because fresh, unpasteurized milk and any cheese or dairy product made from this, can contain organisms that cause diseases, including the bacterium Listeria Monocytogenes. The pasteurisation process (or other similar thermal processes) would kill the bacteria and other organisms.
  • Not take raw milk, or eat food or dishes prepared with this raw ingredient. The majority of dairy products manufactured in Spain are previously pasteurized. We should avoid these untagged selling products in markets or that we ignore their origin…
  • Listeria is destroyed at high temperatures, so according to some sources you have to cook good food susceptible to contain it, though others say that there are occasions in which heat is not enough to kill the bacteria, so that more prudent is not eating these foods.

In short, listeriosis in pregnancy It is a disease that can be very harmful to the baby but that with a simple measures relating to food will remain remote and avoid risk.

Gallery

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