Listeriosis is a bacterial infection caused by a Gram-positive, motile bacterium, Listeria monocytogenes. Listeriosis occurs primarily in newborn infants, elderly patients, and patients who are immunocompromised. Listeriosis kills at least 1 in 5 persons it infects. Its wide range of temperature tolerance necessitates extra care in food processing and storage. Meat and dairy products must be handled carefully to prevent contamination and growth of the pathogen. Vegetables and fruit that have contacted the soil must be carefully washed before refrigeration. The symptoms of listeriosis usually last 710 days, with the most common symptoms being fever, muscle aches, and vomiting. Diarrhea is another, but less common symptom. If the infection spreads to the nervous system it can cause meningitis, an infection of the covering of the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms of meningitis are headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions.
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