Listeria Facts You Need To Know

Fresh slice canteloupe(BlackDoctor.org) — Are you at risk from listeria, the deadly bacteria now in the news because of contaminated cantaloupe? The death toll is rising in what is now the largest outbreak of food-borne illness in more than a decade.

Suddenly the spotlight is on listeria. What is it? Where is it? Who’s at risk? What are the symptoms? What are the best ways to avoid contamination?

What is listeria?

Like the famous mouthwash Listerine, Listeria monocytogenes was named after antiseptic pioneer Joseph Lister. It’s a very common bacterium with an unusual trait: It can grow at refrigerator temperatures. And it can build up in food-processing plants, where it can survive for years.

Where is listeria found?