Foodborne illnesses can be caused by coming into contact with any number of different viruses, bacteria, and parasites. One of these, known as Listeria monocytongenes, can cause serious infections in those who eat contaminated food and primarily afflict pregnant women, the elderly, those with weakened immune systems, and infants. Although a relatively mild illness for healthy adults, the fetuses of pregnant women who are infected are at risk of serious disease, as are newborn babies. In some cases, when the infected person is elderly or has a suppressed immune systems, Listeria can cause infections of the blood stream or brain, which can be deadly. If you were diagnosed with Listeria after ingesting contaminated food or water that you purchased from a retailer, manufacturer, or vendor, it is important to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney about recouping some of your losses.
Source of Infection
Listeria is contracted through the consumption of contaminated foods. In fact, the Listeria outbreaks of the 1990s were eventually linked to the ingestion of contaminated hot dogs and deli meats. Currently, Listeria outbreaks are more often linked to contaminated produce, such as celery, sprouts, and cantaloupe, and dairy products like soft cheeses and ice creams.
Around 1,600 cases of Listeria are reported in the U.S. every year. Despite this relatively low number, it is critical for those who fall under one of the at risk categories to take certain steps to avoid contamination, as the results can be deadly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) people aged 65 years or older, those with suppressed immune systems, and pregnant women should:
- Avoid risky foods and unpasteurized milk, as well as cheeses made from raw milk, such as queso fresco,
- Heat deli meats and hot dogs until they are steaming before consuming;
- Refrigerate leftovers within two hours and eat within three to four days;
- Avoid cross-contamination in the kitchen or refrigerator; and
- Use a thermometer to ensure that the refrigerator is kept at 40 degrees or lower.
Unfortunately, despite taking these steps, thousands of people may become infected with this disease as a result of a restaurant or vendor’s negligence. In these cases, it is critical for the injured party to speak with an attorney about holding the at-fault party accountable.
Those who are infected with Listeria could suffer from a range of different symptoms depending on their age and the part of the body primarily affected, which could include the joints, chest, abdomen, and bones. For instance, while Listeria can cause a person to suffer from fever and diarrhea, it can also spread beyond the gut, resulting in invasive listeriosis. Patients who contract this strain of listeriosis may suffer from headache, confusion, stiff neck, loss of balance, convulsions, and muscle aches. Pregnant women are also at a higher risk of miscarriage, premature delivery, stillbirths, or dangerous infections for their newborn. In most cases, symptoms do not begin appearing until one to four weeks have passed since eating the contaminated food.
Obtain Legal Advice Today
If you got sick and suffered losses call 737-201-0543 to schedule a meeting with one of the dedicated personal injury attorneys at Michael P. Fleming & Associates, P.C. today. The advice is always free.