There has been an increase in serious infections by over 60 percent. “In Poland, everything is swept under the carpet”

There has been an increase in serious infections by over 60 percent.  "In Poland, everything is swept under the carpet"

Recently, we have been observing an increase in the incidence of a rare but very serious disease. Infection can occur very easily. Just eat contaminated food. Poles, as specialist Rafał Halik points out, often do not realize the seriousness of the problem.

Listeriosis is a serious infectious disease caused by the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes. These pathogens are common in the natural environment. Humans can become infected with the pathogen by eating infected food of animal origin, such as cheese, fish or meat. The main threat comes from unpasteurized dairy products. However, fruit and vegetables that have not been thoroughly washed or ready-made meals that have not undergone heat treatment may also be dangerous. Data provided by the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Surveillance of the National Institute of Health shows that in the period from January to April, the number of infections increased by over 60 percent (compared to the first quarter of 2023).

How does listeriosis manifest itself?

The first symptoms of infection can be noticed within a few days of eating infected food. Symptoms usually resemble food poisoning or the flu. There is fever, chills, muscle and joint pain. Nausea, vomiting and other gastric symptoms may also occur. In healthy people, the infection is usually mild and does not cause serious complications. However, it poses a very high risk to seniors and patients with weakened immunity. In these groups, in addition to the previously indicated symptoms, the following symptoms are usually observed:

  • photophobia,

  • hyperesthesia,

  • convulsions,

  • balance disorders,

  • entanglement

Infection with Listeria monocytogenes bacteria may lead to the development of various complications, including meningitis and pneumonia. The infection is also dangerous for pregnant women. It often results in miscarriage, death of the fetus in the mother's womb, premature birth or serious defects in the newborn child.

Poles are not aware of the threat

Rafał Halik, a specialist assessing the health situation of the Polish population at the National Institute of Public Health – National Institute of Hygiene, commented on the issue of the increase in listeriosis cases on social media. “It's quiet here, hardly anyone knows what listeriosis is, and in Denmark listeriosis is scary and every now and then there is some poor old man or pregnant woman poisoned by listeriosis. In Poland, everything is swept under the carpet,” he said in one of his entries. It is worth recalling that recently the Chief Sanitary Inspector reported the detection of Listeria monocytogenes bacteria in a batch of formula for infants from 6 months of age.

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