Listeria risk

Image of listeria testing being conducted in laboratory

There has been a recent rise in the number of people with invasive listeriosis being treated in hospital, as well as a steady increase in notifications, since April 2022.

When interacting with at-risk people in the community, pharmacists and staff should take the opportunity to counsel those at risk, particularly pregnant women, the elderly and people immunocompromised by certain medications. Take the opportunity to discuss:

  • Avoiding consuming high-risk foods such as cold delicatessen meats; soft serve ice cream; soft cheeses; smoked, raw and chilled seafood; pre-cut fruit or pre-prepared fruit and cold salads; pate and other meat spreads; unpasteurised milk products and sprouted seeds. In these foods, listeria cannot be entirely eliminated and so it is a safer choice to not eat them. Safer options include foods that are freshly prepared cooked and remain hot. 
  • Being aware of symptoms of listeriosis such as fever, muscle aches, nausea and diarrhoea, headache, stiff neck and loss of balance, so that they can seek early assessment, testing and treatment if required.
  • The fact that individual risk for this infection remains low.