CausesBy Mayo Clinic staff
Listeria bacteria can be found in soil, water and animal feces. Humans typically are infected by consuming:
- Raw vegetables that have been contaminated from the soil or from contaminated manure used as fertilizer
- Infected meat
- Unpasteurized milk or foods made with unpasteurized milk
- Certain processed foods — such as soft cheeses, hot dogs and deli meats that have been contaminated after processing
Unborn babies can contract a listeria infection from the mother via the placenta. Breast-feeding is not considered a potential cause of infection.
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