What is listeria? Symptoms, treatment

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CDC warns of potential listeria outbreak linked to hard-boiled eggs

Georgia-traced outbreak raises concerns over infection

A recent outbreak of listeria traced to a Georgia food manufacturer has raised awareness of just how dangerous the infection can be.

Eggs produced at Almark Foods, which markets itself as "the hard-boiled egg specialists," have made people sick, according to the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Seven cases of listeria infection have been reported across five states, and one person died in Texas.

No cases have been reported in Georgia.

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ajc.com

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Listeriosis, according to the CDC, is a serious infection usually caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. An estimated 1,600 people get listeriosis each year, and about 260 die.

»MORE: Listeria outbreak traced to Gainesville food manufacturer

The infection is most likely to sicken pregnant women and their newborns, adults ages 65 or older, and people with weakened immune systems. Symptoms vary from case to case.

Pregnant women typically experience only fever and other flu-like symptoms, such as fatigue and muscle aches. However, infections during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery or life-threatening infection of the newborn.

Other victims may suffer headaches, stiff necks, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions in addition to fever and muscle aches.

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Seven cases of listeria infection have been reported across five states, and one person has died in Texas.

Seven cases of listeria infection have been reported across five states, and one person has died in Texas.

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Seven cases of listeria infection have been reported across five states, and one person has died in Texas.

People with listeriosis usually report symptoms starting one to four weeks after eating contaminated food. Some have reported symptoms as late as 70 days after being infected or on the first day of infection.

Listeriosis is treated with antibiotics.

The products manufactured in Gainesville were packaged in plastic pails for use nationwide by retailers and restaurants, according to the CDC. While the eggs have not been recalled, the agency is warning against selling, serving or using them to make other food products.

“Until we learn more, CDC advises that people at higher risk for listeria infection throw away any store-bought hard-boiled eggs or products containing hard-boiled eggs, such as egg salad,” officials said in a food safety alert.