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Listeriosis is a serious infection that is often caused by eating food that has the bacteria called Listeria monocytogenes in it. The bacteria can be found in dirt, water, and an animal’s stomach.


How can I get sick?  

  • Kissing or touching a sick animal  
  • Eating raw (uncooked) meat 
  • Eating ready to eat meat such as hotdogs or deli meat. 
  • Raw (uncooked) vegetables 
  • Smoked seafood 
  • Raw (uncooked) seafood 
  • Drinking or eating unpasteurized (raw, straight from the animal) milk or cheese products 

Symptoms in humans:  

  • Fever (when your body gets a little hotter than normal)  

  • Diarrhea (runny poop) 
  • Headache  
  • Stiff neck 
  • Muscle pain 
  • Tiredness 
  • Flu-like symptoms  

***Pregnant people can experience more serious complications. 

What can I do to stay healthy?  

  • Carefully wash all vegetables before eating or cooking.
  • Make sure you do not undercook your meat, it is important that you cook meat to the right temperature.

  • Practice proper hand hygiene when cooking food. Always wash with water and soap. 
    • Proper Handwashing Wash your hands with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds. Make sure to scrub your thumbs, between your fingers and the tops and bottoms of your hands. Dry your hands with a paper towel 

  • Only consume pasteurized* milk or milk products such as cheese.  
  • Make sure that the temperature in your refrigerator is at 40F. Place a thermometer in your fridge if it does not already have one.  
  • Keep your refrigerator clean and wipe away any spills to reduce contamination*. 
  • Make sure to eat foods, especially ready to eat items, by the date listed on the packaging (known as the expiration date).


  • Pasteurized: The process of using heat to make milk or milk products (such as cheese) free of germs and safe to eat/drink.
  • Contamination: The process of making something dirty with germs.

Learn About Other Diseases

Click below to learn more about the many different diseases that can spread between animals and humans.