NH Women Worried About Listeriosis in Pregnancy: No More Peaches?

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Bedford Commons OB-GYN has issued this public awareness article about Listeriosis to help women in the community.

Remember, although it is scary, the chances are very low that you will be affected. With this current outbreak the recall was based on potential contamination of fruits and not from documented illness in people.

Due to a recent and major recall on stone fruits at major stores, Bedford Commons OB-GYN of Bedford, NH and their team of healthcare providers is issuing this public service and awareness announcement for women around New Hampshire and beyond. Items recalled by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration include, in particular, peaches, nectarines, plums and pluots sold at stores including Walmart, Sam’s Club, Trader Joe's, Costco, Kroger's and Wegman's between June 1- July 12. The facility that processes the fruits was found to be contaminated with listeria and thus recalled the fruit for potential contamination. Source note, “As of yet, no one is known to be sick with listeriosis from these fruits.”

According to the spokesperson from Bedford Commons OB-GYN (BCOG), “Listeria is a bacteria commonly found in soil, plants, and water. However, human infections are most commonly secondary to food contamination. Although the prevalence of listeria is high, the incidence of infection is only noted as 0.29/100,000 people.”

The practice also noted that in pregnancy, a systemic infection of listeria could be devastating. It can lead to premature delivery, stillbirth, miscarriage and problems for the newborn. As a vote of confidence and to stem the growing worries of the population, Dr. Kristen Bannister of Bedford Commons OB-GYN stated, “In light of the serious dangers caused by listeria, don't forget the incidence rate noted from the WHO and CDC is 0.0000029%! So, really, the chances you can get infected are slim at best.”

Here are some additional notes from a recent post on the BCOG.com blog:

Symptoms vary with an acute infection and a systemic infection. The acute infection presents as a gastrointestinal illness with fever and watery diarrhea. The acute infection typically will occur within a week after eating the contaminated food. For this particular food recall, the risk of GI infection is past.

Systemic, or sometimes termed invasive, listeriosis presents much later (average 35 days after eating contaminated food). In pregnancy it presents with fever, flu-like muscle aches/back pain and less commonly confusion and convulsions. It is this type of infection that can pass through the placenta to the baby and in the amniotic fluid.

Frequently, listeria is asymptomatic. In the absence of symptoms, the recommendations are to not test or treat for listeria.

Bedford Commons notes, “If you have eaten a fruit that you are concerned about but have had no fevers and flu-like symptoms then you do not need to worry. If you have eaten a stone fruit and develop fevers and severe body aches or back pain (with fever) then you should be evaluated. In all likelihood, even with these symptoms, you do not have listeriosis. You would be examined and tested for other infections (UTI, viral illness, flu, etc.). In absence of another explanation you might be placed on antibiotics to treat listeriosis.”

The practice also noted that people will likely hear a lot about listeriosis over the next few weeks and also stated, “Remember, although it is scary, the chances are very low that you will be affected. With this current outbreak the recall was based on potential contamination of fruits and not from documented illness in people.”

Bedford Commons OB-GYN invites all readers to reach out with questions at their practice contact phone number.

As always, if you have concerns or questions call our office at 603-668-4646.

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Christina Haag

Nate Lindquist