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Those sealed glossy packs of cheeses and lunchmeat on your grocer's shelf can provide a particularly friendly home for nasty bugs that cause food poisoning, new research shows.
Vacuum-packed foods are deprived of oxygen to keep them fresh and boost their shelf life, but the same strategy is a boon for Listeria monocytogenes, a bacterium responsible for a kind of food poisoning that kills 25 percent of the people it infects.
Unlike many other food-borne germs, Listeria can grow even in the cold temperatures of refrigerators.
Avoiding vacuum packaging would lead to other problems with bacterial growth, so I'm not advocating that," food microbiologist Tine Licht told LiveScience. "But our work does help devise models predicting risk of food-borne disease."
Future research can determine genes key to the invasiveness of oxygen-deprived Listeria, Licht added. This in turn could help devise new methods to fight the germ.
Originally posted by earth2
Btw what will it do to you? Kinda like food poisoning I guess, huh?
Infection by L. monocytogenes causes the disease listeriosis. The manifestations of listeriosis include septicemia, meningitis (or meningoencephalitis), encephalitis, corneal ulcer, Pneumonia, and intrauterine or cervical infections in pregnant women, which may result in spontaneous abortion (2nd/3rd trimester) or stillbirth. Surviving neonates of Fetomaternal Listeriosis may suffer granulomatosis infantiseptica - pyogenic granulomas distributed over the whole body, and may suffer from physical retardation. Influenza-like symptoms, including persistent fever, usually precede the onset of the aforementioned disorders. Gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea may precede more serious forms of listeriosis or may be the only symptoms expressed. Gastrointestinal symptoms were epidemiologically associated with use of antacids or cimetidine. The onset time to serious forms of listeriosis is unknown but may range from a few days to three weeks. The onset time to gastrointestinal symptoms is unknown but probably exceeds 12 hours.
The infective dose of L. monocytogenes varies with the strain and with the susceptibility of the victim. From cases contracted through raw or supposedly pasteurized milk, one may safely assume that in susceptible persons, fewer than 1,000 total organisms may cause disease. L. monocytogenes may invade the gastrointestinal epithelium. Once the bacterium enters the host's monocytes, macrophages, or polymorphonuclear leukocytes, it becomes blood-borne (septicemic) and can grow. Its presence intracellularly in phagocytic cells also permits access to the brain and probably transplacental migration to the fetus in pregnant women. The pathogenesis of L. monocytogenes centers on its ability to survive and multiply in phagocytic host cells.