Listeria fact sheet – make sure you have it right!
There is a lot going around on social media right now but make sure you get the facts straight.
Listeriosis is a serious bacterial disease caused by the bacterium(germ), Listeria monocytogenes. The bacterium is commonly found in nature in soil, water and contaminated food. Animals and food products such as vegetables can become contaminated from these sources. It is not visible to the human eye and although food may appear to be okay, it could be contaminated. This is what makes it so difficult to believe that something could be wrong with the product – it looks fine and smells good, but it may be very dangerous.
Anyone can get Listeriosis. However, those at high risk of severe disease are newborns, the elderly, immunocompromised individuals, pregnant women and their unborn babies; and those with underlying conditions such as HIV, diabetes, cancer, chronic liver or kidney disease.
Infection with Listeria usually results in gastro-enteritis with symptoms ranging from mild to severe. However, in persons with weak immunity, Listeriosis can lead to meningitis leading to headaches, confusion, stiff neck, loss of balance or convulsions and even septicaemia. In pregnant women, Listeriosis may results in pregnancy loss (abortion) along with meningitis of their infant.
It is diagnosed by a blood test and is treatable with antibiotics.
Listeriosis is usually spread through eating contaminated food products most frequently with raw or unpasteurised milk and soft cheeses, but also vegetables, processed foods, ready-to-eat meats and smoked fish products.
The Listeria bacterium can also be transmitted from a pregnant woman to her unborn baby during pregnancy or at the time of birth.
If you are pregnant or suffering from another illness avoid any of the foods:
Practice good hygiene in your kitchen at res or digs
Please also be responsible in disposing of the product. In our country we have hungry people who are living off whatever we throw away. Be responsible and destroy the packaging and the product before you dispose of it in your dustbins. Bury the product (only if you do not have pets) or burn it – this way we know for sure that it cannot be retrieved from a garbage bag or dump site.