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Listeriosis, a serious infection usually caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes, is an important public health problem in the United States. The disease primarily affects older adults, pregnant women, newborns, and adults with weakened immune systems. However, rarely, persons without these risk factors can also be affected. The risk may be reduced by recommendations for safe food preparation, consumption, and storage.


Listeria monocytogenes

Vital Signs: When Food Bites Back

Graphic: Vital Signs: At least 90% of people who get Listeria food poisoning are most vulnerable to infectionMany germs can be spread through food. Some, like Listeria, can be deadly. Listeria strikes hard at pregnant women and their newborns, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems. This Vital Signs Fact Sheet provides key information on what can be done to protect people from deadly Listeria food poisoning.

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Listeria (Listeriosis) Topics

A green icon of a pencil and note pad.Definition & Symptoms

Fever, muscle aches, diarrhea…

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Prevention measures…

A green icon indicating prevention.People at Risk

Who gets it and how…

A green icon of a petri dish.Sources of Infection

Contaminated food…

A green icon of a microscope.Diagnosis & Testing

See your health care provider, clinical diagnosis…

A green icon of a caduceus.Treatment & Outcomes



In cantaloupe 2011, consumer advice,…

A green icon with a magnifying glass and foot print.Surveillance

Listeria Initiative, Fact Sheets, Report Forms…

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Incidence, trends…

A green icon of a paper and pen.Educational Resources

Articles, Links, References…

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Listeria, a rare but deadly germ, is the 3rd leading cause of death from food poisoning. The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention   1600 Clifton Road Atlanta, GA 30329-4027, USA
800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) TTY: (888) 232-6348 - Contact CDC–INFO
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