Listeria Infection

Listeria infection is a foodborne bacterial illness that can be very serious for pregnant women and people with impaired immune systems. Improperly processed deli meats and unpasteurized milk products breed the bacteria. Plus, it can survive refrigeration and even freezing. However, it is rare for healthy people to get a listeria infection, but the disease can be fatal to unborn babies and newborns.

Listeria Causes

Researchers have traced Listeria in soil, water, and animal feces. Some ways a person can contract the bacteria are:

  • Eating raw vegetables grown in contaminated soil
  • Consuming contaminated animal meat
  • Drinking unpasteurized milk or eating foods made with unpasteurized milk
  • Ingesting certain processed foods such as contaminated soft cheeses, hot dogs and deli meats

Also, unborn babies can contract it from the mother via the placenta.

Listeria Infection Symptoms

When a person is infected and develops symptoms of Listeria infection, the resulting illness is called listeriosis.

Symptoms of the infection include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Severe headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea

A few days after eating contaminated food, symptoms could begin. However, it may take as long as 30 days or more before the first signs and symptoms of infection begin.

If the listeria infection spreads to your nervous system, signs and symptoms include:

  • Headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Confusion or changes in alertness
  • Loss of balance
  • Convulsions

Symptoms During Pregnancy and with Newborns

During pregnancy, a listeria infection usually only causes mild signs and symptoms in the mother. The consequences for the baby, however, may be devastating. The baby may die unexpectedly before birth or experience a life-threatening infection within the first few days after being born.

The signs and symptoms of a listeria infection in a newborn can be subtle including:

  • Little interest in feeding
  • Irritability
  • Fever
  • Vomiting


Most listeria infections are so mild they may go unnoticed. However, in some cases, a listeria infection can lead to life-threatening complications like:

  • A generalized blood infection (septicemia)
  • Inflammation of the membranes and fluid surrounding the brain (meningitis)

Complications of a listeria infection may be most severe for an unborn baby. Early in pregnancy, a listeria infection may lead to miscarriage. Later in pregnancy, a listeria infection may lead to stillbirth, premature birth or a potentially fatal infection in the baby after birth. This is the case even if the mother becomes only mildly ill.

Help after a Listeria Infection

When you experience side effects from severe food poisoning, it can have devastating effects on your entire life. A verdict or settlement could also provide compensation for your injuries and damages. The Michael Brady Lynch Firm is currently accepting Listeria infection injury cases in all 50 states. Therefore, if you or somebody you know was injured by an outbreak of Listeria poisoning, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation.


Learn More

  • Microgreens Recalled from Listeria

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