Does listeriosis have any complications?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

When older children or adults get listeriosis, there are a few different complications that can occur if the infection takes hold and is not promptly treated with antibiotics. One complication is that the infection can spread to the blood (septicemia). Because your blood travels throughout your body, blood contamination can cause the infection to spread to multiple organs. If the infection spreads to the brain, it can cause the area around the brain to inflame, causing meningitis. Both of these complications are serious and must be treated promptly at a hospital.

If a pregnant mother gets listeriosis, even if her own symptoms aren't severe, it can result in severe complications for her pregnancy, including stillbirth, miscarriage, and developmental difficulties for the infant.

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