People at Risk – People with Weakened Immune Systems
CDC estimates that Listeria infection is the third leading cause of death from food poisoning in the United States. About 1,600 people get sick from Listeria each year, and about 260 die.
People with weakened immune systems due to underlying medical conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, liver or kidney disease, alcoholism, and HIV or AIDS, are more likely to get a Listeria infection. Treatments that make it more difficult for the body to fight off illness, such as steroids and chemotherapy, also can increase the chance of Listeria infection.
Certain medical conditions and treatments can weaken your immune system and make you more likely to get sick from contaminated food.
People with cancer are 10 times more likely than other people to get Listeria infection.
People on dialysis are 50 times more likely than other people to get Listeria infection.
- Wash your hands the right way – for 20 seconds with soap and running water.
- Use a thermometer to make sure your refrigerator is 40°F or lower and your freezer is 0°F or lower.
- Keep raw meat away from fresh produce and other ready-to-eat food, to avoid contamination.
- Thaw or marinate foods in the refrigerator, never on the counter or in the kitchen sink.
- Wash fruits and vegetables (even if you plan to peel them), but do not wash meat, poultry or eggs!
- Use separate cutting boards for raw produce and for raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs.
- Use a food thermometer to be sure food is cooked to its proper temperature.
- Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours in shallow covered containers and use within 3-4 days.
- Know when to throw food out.