December 6, 2019

Texas Health Issues Listeria Advisory to Healthcare Providers

The Texas State Department of Health Services has issued a Listeria advisory to healthcare providers. Patients with symptoms, who are in high-risk groups and may have been exposed to Listeria through a contaminated product should be tested, the advisory states.  Specifically, “diagnostic testing should include cultures of blood and other specimens, such ascerebrospinal fluid, as indicated by the clinical presentation.”

Listeria monocytogenes bacteriaSymptoms of a Listeria infection can take 70 days to develop. They include high fever, severe headache, stiff neck, other muscle stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Listeria infections can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

Those at high risk for an invasive Listeria infection include pregnant women, adults 65 and older, those with weakened immune systems and children. Others at risk include those who have eaten recalled Blue Bell ice cream products.

The advisory states all cases of Listeria infection need to be reported to the state health department. It includes a link to the CDC’s “Suggested framework for medical management of people at elevated risk for invasive listeriosis who are exposed to Listeria monocytogenes.” However, it cautions against the use of  stool culture as a screening option.

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