The scare from the Listeria outbreak doesn’t seem to have abated yet with 2500 cartons of pre chopped and shredded Romaine Lettuce recalled in California.

Whilst the bug is more likely to affect the elderly and those with weakened immune systems its still of concern to everyone especially pregnant women. The tainted Cantalope melons from Colorado made at least 84 people ill and killed 15 since 31st July. Its the worst outbreak of its kind in the US for at least 10 years.

Luckily no problems have been associated the lettuces so far and the product from True Leaf Farms, owned by closely held Church Brothers LLC in Salinas, California, was only on the shelves in Cash & Carry Smart Food Service stores in Oregon, Washington and Idaho. The company also confirmed that product was shipped to 19 other states and Alberta, Canada. The problem product was shipped 12th and 13th September.

Listeria can cause what is known as listeriosis, a serious but rare illness. Listeriosis usually causes mild flu-like symptoms which can include vomiting, nausea, cramps, severe headache, constipation or fever.

The best way to avoid it is simply to maintain high standards of food hygiene as sources of Listeria are mainly associated with animals, soil, vegetation and sewerage. The problem for pregnant women is that the bacteria can pass across the placenta to the fetus, that is why pregnant women are advised to make cautious food choices. Listeria is very dangerous to babies and can cause premature birth leaving the infant extremely ill. Although it can be treated with antibiotics, Listeria is also associated with meningitis, pneumonia and encephalitis.

Its also important to note that Listeria can take some time to incubate DR. Robert Tauxe of the Center for Disease Control explained :

“the number of illnesses from listeria-tainted cantaloupe will likely rise.”

People should be cautios of any of flu like aches and cramps.

Rupert Shepherd reporting for Medical News