Risks of listeriosis (Listeria)
Learn what the risks of listeriosis are and who is most at risk.
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What are the risks of getting listeriosis?
While listeriosis is a rare disease in Canada, some foods are more likely to carry the Listeria bacteria than others. Some higher-risk foods include:
- refrigerated smoked fish
- raw or unpasteurized milk
- soft and unpasteurized cheeses
- ready-to-eat meats, such as:
- deli meats
- hot dog wieners
Who is most at risk?
Those who are most at risk of becoming sick with severe listeriosis include:
- people with weakened immune systems (unable to fight diseases easily)
- adults over the age of 60
- the risk increases with age due to a weakening immune system
- pregnant women, including their unborn or newborn baby
What are the complication risks?
If you have severe listeriosis, you can develop a brain infection and/or blood poisoning. Severe listeriosis can be fatal.
If listeriosis spreads from a mother to her unborn baby, it can cause:
- a miscarriage
- this is when your baby dies in the womb before the 20th week of pregnancy
- a stillbirth
- this is when your baby dies in the womb after 20 weeks of pregnancy (before delivery)
- a premature birth
- life-threatening illness in your baby shortly after birth
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