Listeria More Common in Low Income Areas

Emerging research has found that pregnant women from ethic minorities, as well as those from poor backgrounds, are likelier to suffer from the dangerous, sometimes deadly, <"">Listeria pathogen, according to Nursing in Practice, citing new figures.

Britians Health Protection Agency (HPA) said 1,510 cases of Listeriosis—the illness caused by contamination with the Listeria pathogen—were recorded in the years between 2001 and 2008 in England and Wales, said Nursing in Practice. Of these, 181 of these illnesses occurred in pregnant women, with nearly 40 percent—a total of 66 women—of these women being from an ethnic minority, said Nursing in Practice.

Listeriosis can cause high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. In pregnant women, Listeriosis can result in miscarriage, stillbirth, or birth of a baby suffering from the infection.

Pregnant women are about 20 times likelier than others to be infected and Listeriosis can kill fetuses, prompt premature births, and can lead to hearing loss or brain damage in newborns and neurological effects and cardio respiratory failure in adults

Consumption of food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes can cause Listeriosis, a potentially fatal disease. While healthy people rarely contract Listeriosis, the infection can cause high fever, severe headache, neck stiffness, and nausea; can also cause miscarriages and stillbirths in pregnant women; and can result in serious and sometimes fatal infections in those with weakened immune systems, such as infants, the elderly, persons with HIV infection, or those undergoing chemotherapy.

In another study covering data from 2001 and 2007, additional cases of Listeriosis were found in the most “deprived” areas in England when compared with the most wealthy areas in that country, noted Nursing in Practice.

It is possible, based on Nursing in Practice’s information, that the increase in Listeriosis cases has to do with how people shop and how those shops handle safety in their establishments. It seems that those living in the more underprivileged locations tend to a lot of their shopping in convenience stores, as well as in local stores that may more relaxed food safety knowledge and practices than do the larger firms, which can increase the likelihood of smaller stores harboring pathogens and enabling food contamination, explained Nursing in Practice.

Worse, people from more deprived socioeconomic areas may also take increased risks with their food, compromising food safety, said Nursing in Practice.

Listeria monocytogenes infects about 2,500 people in the U.S., killing 500. Contamination occurs in meat and poultry as well as vegetables tainted via soil or fertilizer. Listeriosis can kill fetuses, prompt premature births, and can lead to hearing loss or brain damage in newborns and neurological effects and cardiorespiratory failure in adults, reported the LATimes previously.

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