Symptoms of listeriosis include fever, muscle aches, nausea, diarrhea and flu-like illness, according to WebMD. To the extent the infection spreads to the nervous system, additional symptoms may include headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions.
Listeriosis is a form of food poisoning caused by the consumption of food contaminated with the listeria monocytogenes bacterium, explains the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although it tends to mostly affect pregnant women, newborns, adults of advanced age and adults with weak immune systems, in rare cases it can affect people who do not carry those risks. Listeria bacteria are generally found in the soil, water and animal feces, and humans become infected by consuming contaminated foods such as raw vegetables, infected meat, unpasteurized foods and various processed foods, including cheese and hot dogs, notes Mayo Clinic.
Diagnosing listeriosis requires a medical history and physical exam, and in some circumstances may include a blood test or spinal fluid to confirm the diagnosis, according to WebMD. Treatment options depend on the scope and severity of the condition, but most affected patients do not require any treatment, and symptoms usually dissipate over time, explains Mayo Clinic. In severe cases, patients are treated with antibiotics.