SuperTalk Mississippi

Listeria is More Than A Blue Bell Recall, Says UMMC

JACKSON, Miss– University of Mississippi Medical Center’s Division of Infectious Diseases says Listeria and the concerns involved with the bacteria are well beyond the latest recalls with Blue Bell ice cream. 

Listeria can be found just about everywhere, says Division of Infectious Diseases director Dr. Skip Nolan.

“Surveys show that if you culture produce in the grocery store, deli meat and other surfaces, it’s pretty easy to find,” Nolan said. “The same thing is true in your refrigerator. Everybody gets exposed to it, but only certain people get it.”

Most healthy people will  not experience symptoms of exposure to Listeria.

“Those most at risk are pregnant women, people over 60, people who have problems with their immune systems, people who have had transplants, people with HIV or cancer,” Nolan said.

But for those who do get sick, it is severe, or even fatal. The symptoms are mostly stomach problems: stomach pains, nausea, diarrhea, severe headaches, cramps, and fever.

Listeria and other food illnesses can be avoided if the proper health protocols are followed. Heat up the food that is meant to be hot, keep cold the food that should be chilled. And clean, sanitized surfaces and wearing gloves reduces the risk of illness.

Even though a person of average health probably won’t get sick from Listeria, it still isn’t worth the risk. UMMC urges that if you have Blue Bell in your freezer, dump it out, or return it to the store for a refund.


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