May 8, 2021

Listeriosis Slows Fetal Heart Rate, Researchers Find

Listeriosis causes fetal heart rate to slow for sustained periods of time, according results of a new study by pediatric researchers published in Nature.com.

Listeriosis, an infection caused by ingesting Listeria monocytogenes bacteria, is one of the most lethal bacterial diseases for fetuses and infants, but their mothers often develop only mild flu-like symtoms. To learn more about listeriosis during pregnancy, researchers used ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging on pregnant mice.

Every year, about 1600 people are sickened by Listeria in the United States. Pregnant women are 20 times more likely than other people to contract listeriosis, about 1 of every 6 patients diagnosed with listeriosis is a pregnant women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). . Listeriosis during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery, or infection in newborns.

During pregnancy,  women should avoid foods most commonly at risk for Listerria contamination: deli meat, hot dogs, smoked fish, raw milk, soft cheese, pates, meat spreads and prepackaged deli salads, according to the CDC.

The cantaloupe Listeria outbreak of 2011, was the largest Listeria outbreak on record. At least 30 people died. A total of 146 people in 28 states were sickened,  seven of the illnesses were related to a pregnancy; three were diagnosed in newborns and four were diagnosed in pregnant women. One miscarriage was reported.

 

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