An important public health problem in N America involving infection caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. The disease affects primarily pregnant women, newborns, and anyone with immune compromise. Symptoms include fever, muscle aches, nausea and diarrhea. If infection spreads to the nervous system, symptoms such as headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, or convulsions can occur. Infection during pregnancy may appear mild but can lead to stillbirth, premature delivery and infection of the newborn. Persons at risk can prevent the infection by avoiding certain high-risk foods and by handling food properly. You should thoroughly cook raw food from animal sources (such as beef, pork, or poultry); keep uncooked meats separate from vegetables, cooked foods and ready-to-eat foods;. wash raw vegetables thoroughly before eating them;. and avoid raw (unpasteurized) milk or foods made from raw milk. The Listeria bacteria are named after the English surgeon and apostle of antisepsis, Joseph Lister (1827-1912).
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A sporadic disease of animals and humans, particularly those who are immunocompromised or pregnant, caused by the bacterium, Listeria monocytogenes. The infection in sheep and cattle frequently involves the central nervous system, causing various neurologic signs; in monogastric animals and fowl, the chief manifestations are septicemia and necrosis of the liver. Meningitis, bacteremia, and focal metastatic disease are associated with l.. SYN: listeria meningitis. [fr. organism Listeria]

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lis·te·ri·o·sis (.)lis-.tir-ē-'ō-səs also lis·ter·el·lo·sis .lis-tə-rə-'lō-səs n, pl -ri·o·ses also -lo·ses -.sēz a serious disease of animals and humans that is caused by a bacterium of the genus Listeria (L. monocytogenes), that in animals causes severe encephalitis accompanied by disordered movements and is often fatal, that is contracted by humans esp. from contaminated food (as processed meats or unpasteurized milk or cheese), that in otherwise healthy people typically takes the form of a mild flulike illness or has no noticeable symptoms, that in neonates, the elderly, and the immunocompromised often causes serious sometimes fatal illness with symptoms including meningitis and sepsis, and that in pregnant women usu. causes only mild illness in the mother but often results in miscarriage, stillbirth, or premature birth see CIRCLING DISEASE

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lis·te·ri·o·sis (lis-te″re-oґsis) 1. human infection caused by Listeria monocytogenes. In utero infection occurs transplacentally and results in abortion, stillbirth, or premature birth. Infection acquired by an infant during birth causes cardiorespiratory distress, diarrhea, vomiting, and meningitis. In adults it produces meningitis, endocarditis, febrile gastroenteritis, and disseminated granulomatous lesions. 2. infection of domestic animals by L. monocytogenes. In cattle and sheep this causes abortion, encephalitis, and other neurologic signs; nonruminants may suffer from necrosis of the liver. Because affected animals tend to move in circles, it is also known as circling disease.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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