Listeria and Older Adults
Listeria is a harmful germ that can be in some food.
It rarely affects people who have a strong immune system. Most young, healthy adults won’t get sick from Listeria.
But it can cause serious illness and even death if you’re 65 or older. This is because your immune system has a harder time recognizing and getting rid of harmful germs like Listeria as you get older. You also have less stomach acid that helps kill germs.
Every year, 1,600 people in the U.S. get sick from Listeria, and more than half are older adults. Older adults with Listeria almost always have to be hospitalized, and, sadly, 1 in 6 die.
You can take steps to prevent getting Listeria.
Call a healthcare provider right away if you have a fever and feel more tired and achy than normal. You may also have a headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, or seizures if you have Listeria. Early treatment can help save your life.