If you’ll be traveling to Spain in the near future, this is what you need to know about the country’s biggest-ever listeria outbreak.
Spain is currently in the throes of its
biggest listeria outbreak to date and holidaymakers are being warned to stay
safe and keep an eye out for symptoms.
Over 150 people have already been affected
by the outbreak and over 500 patients are currently being tested for the
infection. Andalusia currently has the largest number of listeria patients but
there have been other reported cases in regions such as Madrid, Catalonia and
Listeria is an infection that is caught from eating foods that contain a specific type of bacteria (Listeria monocytogenes). Deli meats and unpasteurized cheeses are the most common carriers of the bacteria.
most instances, the infection only results in mild illness but it can be much
more dangerous to those with compromised immune systems, including pregnant
women and patients over the age of 65. Well over a thousand people contract
listeriosis every year, a hundred of which succumb to their symptoms.
Listeria is a food-borne disease. The only
exception is in the case of pregnant women, who can transfer the infection to
their baby. Listeria is not contagious.
Keep an Eye
Out for These Symptoms
Symptoms of listeria last for several days
and include a lot of flu-like symptoms such as fever, muscle aches, nausea and
In some severe cases, the bacteria can
cause brain-related conditions such as abscesses and meningitis.
Symptoms will generally show up a few days
after you’ve eaten contaminated food but in some cases, symptoms only show up a
month after infection.
Listeria infections can last anywhere from
one to six weeks, depending on how severe each case is.
Yourself from Listeriosis While on Vacation in Spain
Here are a few tips that can reduce your
risks of contracting listeria.
If you will be purchasing and eating any fresh produce, make sure that you run it underwater for at least a minute and dry it before consuming it.
Thoroughly cook any raw meat
Think twice about eating soft cheeses, sprouts, deli meats and hot dogs
Ensure your hands are clean before handling any food
Since listeria can still grow in a refrigerator, it’s best to clean the shelves and walls with soap and water before storing any food in it
Avoid restaurants with buffets, salad bars and unclean surfaces
Always place food in a closed plastic bag before throwing it away
Keep all cooking surfaces clean before and after food preparation
Listeria is not necessarily a serious infection
but it’s not something you want to deal with while you’re on vacation, which is
why it’s best to know what to look out for. If you notice any symptoms, contact
a doctor in your area using the Air Doctor app.