Deirdre Schlunegger, CEO of STOP Foodborne Illness
Food Safety Culture Club

Listeria: The Stories

By Deirdre Schlunegger
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Deirdre Schlunegger, CEO of STOP Foodborne Illness

This often-deadly infection can have a devastating effect on victims and their families.

Listeriosis is serious. As defined by the CDC, the infection usually occurs as a result of consuming food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. It mainly affects the older population, pregnant women, newborns, and those who are immunocompromised.

Learn more about how you can address Listeria in your facility at Food Safety Tech’s Listeria Detection & Control Workshop | REGISTER NOWThe following are stories of those affected by Listeria. They are devastating, filled with sadness, and associated with tremendous loss.

  • Laureen and her husband Steve were expecting their first child. She was due on April 10, and on September 11, they heard their child’s heartbeat for the first time. On September 25, Laureen felt ill and on September 29 she went to the doctor’s office where she was diagnosed with a cold and sent home. A few days later, Laureen went to the emergency room with a fever of 102.6 degrees.  After the hospital ran some tests, Laureen and Steve were again sent home. However, later that night Laureen began experiencing more symptoms, and she returned to the emergency room and was hospitalized.  On October 5 she had a miscarriage and was told it was due to Listeriosis. They named their baby girl Zena Rose Spitz.
  • Lynn was six months pregnant and on Labor Day, she had flu symptoms. After feeling ill for a few days, she went to the doctor and was told to go to the emergency room right away. The faces of the doctors reflected grave concern. It was decided that they would perform a C-section that night. At 27 weeks, they were told the chances of survival were slim. Lynn’s survival was at risk as well. Their daughter was born with an Apgar score of 2. Her name was to be Julia Patricia. In NICU, Julia underwent many tests and procedures, and her parents were told that Julia was very sick. At one point a priest was called for last rites. Julie stabilized only after many close calls, and her parents were told that Listeria was the culprit. Today Julia has many physical challenges.
  • Michael was born to Stephanie and Michael at 30 weeks of pregnancy with an Apgar score of 2.  Infectious disease reported that the cause of Stephanie and son Michael’s illness was Listeriosis. Sweet little Michael died in Stephanie’s arms as she rocked him to sleep, wrapped in a not-yet-finished baby blanket that her mom had been knitting for her first grandchild. Stephanie had eaten contaminated lettuce.

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Deirdre Schlunegger, CEO of STOP Foodborne Illness

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