Listeriosis - Symptoms

Were you or someone you know diagnosed with listeriosis? What were the signs and symptoms?

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What are listeriosis symptoms and signs?

Fever, muscle aches, and, occasionally, nausea or diarrhea (or both) are the usual symptoms associated with listeriosis. These symptoms usually last up to one week and spontaneously resolve. However, in some people, the organisms can spread to the brain. The symptoms of meningitis (stiff neck, headache, and fever), altered mental status (confusion, reduced mental activity), balance problems, and seizures develop in brain infections. Brain abscesses may also occur and cause similar symptoms. The incubation period between exposure and symptoms is quite variable and may extend up to two months according to some investigators.

Pregnant women who are otherwise healthy usually have only minor symptoms. However, Listeria organisms in pregnant females often cause miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth, or cause infection and, potentially, death of the newborn. About 30% of all listeriosis infections reported in the U.S. occur in pregnant females.

Occasionally, localized skin infections may occur, especially in people who handle animals that are infected with Listeria. These skin infections rarely lead to further complications such as brain infection.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mortality (death) rates can be in the range off about 20%.

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