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Fetuses, Newborns Found To Be At Much Greater Risk From Food-Borne Pathogen

October 23, 2009: 01:31 AM EST
Analyzing data from lab animal tests, scientists have found that listeriosis, a rare but often fatal bacterial infection among the elderly, fetuses or newborns, and individuals with compromised immune systems, may be occurring after exposure to much lower doses than once thought. Pregnant women who consume foods such as soft cheeses containing one million cells of Listeria monocytogenes – not 10 trillion cells, as thought previously – face a 50 percent chance that their fetus or infant will die. Scientists say the data do not suggest a new epidemic, but do confirm that Listeria is still a major public health problem.
Denita Williams, Jennifer Castleman, et al., "Risk of Fetal Mortality After Exposure to Listeria monocytogenes", Risk Analysis: An International Journal , October 23, 2009, © John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
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