Friday, July 8, 2011
THE "LISTERIA " FOOD RISK FOR PREGNANT WOMEN
On top of that "avoid" list is any food that can contain the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes, which causes an illness caused "listeriosis." L. monocytogenes is a very strange bacteria, in that it can be almost harmless for some people, and lethal for others. In the U.S., at least 2500 Americans catch Listeriosis each year. About a fifth of them die of it.
Pregnant women are about twenty times more likely to get listeriosis than are healthy women their age who are not pregnant. In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that about one third of all cases of listeriosis occur during pregnancy. Nor is this just a North American risk. The situation is likely to be much the same in other developed nations.
L.monocytogenes bacteria can be passed to an unborn baby through the placenta even if the mother is asymptomatic, that is, is not showing signs of illness. Listeriosis during pregnancy can result in miscarriage or stillbirth, premature delivery, infection of the newborn or development problems.
I once happened to open a website which carried personal stories of women who had had listeriosis during pregnancy. It was really heartbreaking. If you are pregnant and have a hard time giving up foods that are more likely to contain Listeria bacteria (look at my alerts column for some of these and earlier posts), just think of what the cost might be. And, read what The Safe Food Handbook has to say.
To your good health,