This information is provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD).
A listeria infection or listeriosis is an infection caused by a bacteria known as Listeria monocytogenes. It mainly affects newborn infants, elderly patients, pregnant women and patients who have low immunity. Listeria can be spread by several methods. A common cause is ingestion (food-borne transmission) of unpasteurized milk or contaminated vegetables. It can also be transmitted from mother to fetus during pregnancy or directly to the newborn at the time of delivery. Listeriosis can cause a variety of symptoms, depending on the person and the part of the body affected. Pregnant women typically have only fever and other flu-like symptoms, such as fatigue and muscle aches. However, infections during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery, or life-threatening infection of the newborn, including generalized infection (sepsis) or inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain (meningitis). Sometimes listeriosis involves many organs and presents with masses filled with pus (microabscesses or granulomas). Older children with Listeria infections frequently develop meningitis. Treatment include antibiotics such as ampicillin and aminoglycosides.
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