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Listeria during Pregnancy

Listeria is a bacteria that is generally found throughout the environment. However, most cases of Listeria occur from infected food. During pregnancy, if a woman contracts listeria, the infection can be passed on to the fetus by way of the placenta. Left untreated, listeria may cause stillbirth, miscarriage, premature birth and other health issues for the baby. To learn more about listeria and the treatment for this infection, take a look below at the questions that have been answered by the Experts.

Can someone get listeria from a cat?

Humans generally contract listeria from foods such as lunch meat, soft cheese, smoked fish and contaminated vegetables in salad. Generally, the only time a person can get listeria from a cat is if the cat becomes very ill from the contamination. In other words, a person would usually only contract listeria from a cat if the person gets contaminated by infected cat tissue. For example, people who can be at risk for this disease are vets who handle sick pregnant animals, the animals' dead fetuses, or excessive amounts of infected tissue of dead animals.

Listeria can also be found in soil such as in farms where there are many animals which are infected. However, listeria isn't an illness commonly found in humans. As for getting listeria from a litter box, a person generally cannot contract the infection from changing the litter box or having contact with an uninfected cat as long as they wash their hands carefully after.

Are nut butters a risk for listeria?

Butter made from nuts such as almonds is not only healthy but generally considered to be safe when purchased in the U.S. Also, listeria is a rare occurrence within the states. With a population of over 300,000,000 million people, there have generally only been about 1,000 cases of listeria.

If a mother has listeria, can the baby be saved?

Generally, infections that happen early on in a pregnancy could lead to miscarriage in the first trimester and perhaps pre-term birth in the second trimester. However, in most cases regarding pregnant women and listeria, antibiotics given to the mother also provide protection to the fetus. If there is a need for further antibiotic treatment, the baby can be given additional doses after being born.

Another point to note is that listeria in pregnancy is basically unheard of in the United States. Of the women affected, basically only 1/3 of the fetuses are affected by the infection. Of the fetuses that do become affected, usually a high percentage of them manage a full recovery.

Can a pregnant woman get listeria from a messy house?

Typically, listeria is contracted from food and not an unclean home. Listeria is usually found in contaminated lunch meats, meat spreads, smoked fish, soft cheese, hot dogs, raw meat and unpasteurized foods. However, there may be a small risk of listeria contamination if the kitchen in the house is excessively dirty and contaminated foods are present.

Many women have never heard of listeria until they become pregnant. Yet, this unknown infection tends to create a fear of many foods in the expectant mother. If you are pregnant and are unsure of what foods are safe from listeria, ask an Expert who can provide medical clarity and suggestions to put your fears to rest.
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