In severe cases, the infections can cause stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions and sometimes be life threatening, according to the CDC. Nearly everyone infected with the bacteria ends up with an invasive infection, meaning it moves outside the gastrointestinal tract.
The agency’s latest published statistics from 2011 state that the disease causes approximately 1,600 illnesses and 260 deaths every year in the U.S.
Pregnant women are at least 10 times as likely as the general population to develop a listeria infection, which has been associated with miscarriage, stillbirth and premature delivery, according to the CDC.
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