Listeriosis: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

The growing degradation of environment has given rise to various new kinds of illnesses and diseases. These diseases mostly erupt in one region and gradually spread to other parts of the world. Several such diseases have cropped up in the past and many more are likely to engulf our planet in the times to come. Listeriosis is one such disease that has hit South Africa. Several cases of this disease have been reported in South Africa since January last year.

Listeriosis is a food borne disease. Here is a brief look at the causes of Listeriosis, its signs and symptoms and treatment

What causes Listeriosis?

Listeriosis is an infection caused by having food infected with bacterium Listeria monocytogenes.  This bacterium is found in soil, vegetation and water. It is transmitted to humans and animals as they eat food contaminated with this bacterium.

Listeria mostly causes serious infection in pregnant women, new born babies and people above 65 years of age. Those with weak immunity are also hit hard by this deadly disease. Healthy kids and adults however may incur this disease but can fight it with little effort. It does not take the shape of serious illness in them.

Listeria Cases

Starting from the beginning of January to the mid of March, numerous cases of Listeriosis have been reported to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) from various provinces. Gauteng, Western Cape and KwaZulu Natal are among the provinces that have seen majority of cases of Listeriosis. Around 25% of the patients infected by this rare disease have succumbed to death. Most of these were infants who incurred this infection from their mother.

Read: Lassa Fever Treatment, Symptoms, History & Transmission

Listeriosis Symptoms

Those infected with Listeria may show the following signs:

  • Mild flu
  • Muscle ache
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Headache

These are common symptoms and are mostly ignored by the patients initially. However, the infection may slowly spread to the nervous system. As the infection impacts the nervous system, it causes problems like disorientation, stiff neck and convulsions. It is suggested not to ignore these symptoms and consult the doctor immediately. Pregnant women and elderly people must especially not take any chances and report the problem to the doctor to seek medication in time.

Listeriosis Treatment

Most people infected by this disease recover within seven days. However, pregnant women, infants, elderly people and those with low immunity require intensive care. The treatment for this Listeriosis includes a course of antibiotics. The patients may even be given fluids via IV drip.

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Besides, the patients are suggested to take plenty of fluids and complete rest.

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