Listeriosis risk factors
Listeriosis risk factors On the Web
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Risk factors in the development of listeriosis include ingestion of uncooked meats and vegetables, unpasteurized (raw) milk and cheeses, processed (or ready-to-eat) meats, and smoked seafood. Populations at higher risk of developing listeriosis include immunosuppressed patients (e.g. transplant recipients, patients with history of splenectomy, patients receiving immunosuppressive therapy, or patients with advanced diabetes, kidney/ liver disease, or active malignancy), neonates, pregnant women, and elderly patients.
Ingestion of Contaminated Food
The following foods may be associated with higher risk of developing listeriosis:
- Uncooked meats and vegetables
- Unpasteurized (raw) milk and cheeses as well as other foods made from unpasteurized milk
- Cooked or processed foods, including certain soft cheeses
- Processed eady-to-eat meats, such as hot dogs and deli meats (contamination may occur after factory cooking but before packaging or even at the deli counter)
- Smoked seafood
- Mexican-style cheeses (such as queso fresco)
Shown below is a table summarizing low and high risk cheese types.
|Higher Risk Cheese Type||Lower Risk Cheese type|
|Soft cheeses made from unpasteurized (raw) milk, such as:
High Risk Populations
- Pregnant women are approximately 10-24 times more likely than the general population to develop listeriosis.
- Approximately 25% to 30% of all Listeria infections occur among pregnant women.
- Pregnant Hispanic women are approximately 24 times more likely than the general population to develop listeriosis.
- The association between Hispanic ethnicity and listeriosis is unconfirmed and may be confounded by pregnancy.
- Neonates are at high risk of developing listeriosis.
- Transmission of Listeria to neonates occurs either in-utero or during delivery.
- More than half (58%) of all Listeria infections occur among adults older than 65 years of age.
- Adults 65 years and older are approximately 4 times more likely than the general population to develop listeriosis.
- Immunosuppressed individuals have a higher risk of developing listeriosis.
- Immunosuppressed conditions include organ transplantation, history of splenectomy, active malignancy, administration of either steroids, chemotherapy, radiation, or monoclonal antibodies, advanced liver or kidney disease, diabetes mellitus, or HIV/AIDS.
- Listeria (Listeriosis) Sources. CDC.gov accessed on 7/25/2014 
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