Prevent listeria in pregnancy

Listeriosis can manifest in pregnant women with symptoms similar to those of influenza, with the appearance of headaches, neck pain and stiffness, disorientation and even convulsions. Prevent listeria in pregnancy It is essential, but when it has already been contracted, the most recommended treatment is with intravenous antibiotics, since listeria monocytogenes is an intracellular bacterium.

Although in Spain it is not a very frequent pathology, listeria monocytogenes is capable of producing very serious alimentary infections, with a mortality rate that can reach up to 20 percent. Pregnant women are especially susceptible to infection by this bacterium and the risks that run in pregnancy can involve the infection of the placenta, the amniotic fluid and the fetus, which can lead to abortions, premature births or serious illnesses. of the newborn as a respiratory infection, meningitis and multiorgan involvement.


Listeriosis is contracted by the consumption of foods infected by listeria monocytogena. This bacterium can be located in multiple places, but they are particularly frequent in water and in the soil, passing through them to vegetables and animals.

Tips to prevent listeria in pregnancy

- Cook meats and fish well. Avoid undercooked or semi-cooked meat and in the case of fish, it should be cooked until it is very cooked. It is important that the pregnant woman does not taste the food until they are perfectly cooked.
- In the case of leftover food, the leftovers should be heated until they "smoke". The bacteria as we have said before is resistant to high and low temperatures. Therefore, it may remain in the food after it has been improperly cooked.
- Avoid the consumption of dairy products that have not been made with pasteurized milk. Do not eat feta cheese, brie, camembert or roquefort cheeses.
- Wash and peel fruit and vegetables well before consuming them
- Wash dish towels, sponges, gloves frequently
- Do not store food for a long time. Perishable or precooked foods should be consumed as soon as possible.
- Do not take precooked food in restaurants, cafeterias ... if it has not been properly heated previously.
- Wash hands thoroughly before and after handling food
- Avoid pats and spreads that are fresh. You can use those that come in a can or packaged. The same advice is valid for smoked seafood and fish.


How to destroy the listeria

Although the bacterium is resistant to high and low temperatures, its destruction is feasible through:

- Temperatures below -17º C. We must take special care because normally domestic freezers do not reach these temperatures.
- Cooking of food, with temperatures above 70ºC
- With the pasteurization process of milk.

Dr. Juan Luna. Chief of Gynecology and Obstetrics Service of La Milagrosa Hospital, Madrid.

Video: Infectious Diseases A-Z: Prevent listeria infection


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