Listeria is a type of bacteria that is found in soil, sewage, water and sometimes food. Listeria infection in pregnancy is usually caused by listeria that may be present in the food that we wat. Listeria is often present in food that has not been kept either very cold, or very hot. Ie, food that is kept at the in-between temperatures. Listeria infection is very rare in Australia, as we have very high standards for food preparation and handling, and also good educational materials available to women who are pregnant.
Symptoms of listeria can take days or weeks to appear, and are similar to flu symptoms. hence, if you are feeling unwell in your pregnancy, you should contact your maternity care provider. Untreated, the infection can progress to meningitis and septicaemia, which can be life threatening. Th infection can also affect the baby.
Your midwife or doctor will give you information early in pregnancy about choosing the types of foods that are unlikely to cause listeria.
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