Listeria monocytogenes is a bacteria that causes listeriosis. In terms of microbiology, the organism is a facultative anaerobe, meaning that it can survive in atmospheres with or without oxygen. This ability allows it to live in numerous environments and makes it difficult to kill. It is a gram positive bacteria and the morphology is a bacillus, or rod-shaped with flagella to help the organism move throughout its environment.
Any infection by Listeria monocytogenes should be seen as serious and potentially deadly. The disease can cause gastric discomfort if it is confined to the digestive system. However, it becomes particularly dangerous when it spreads to other parts of the body and can cause septicemia, meningitis, and pneumonia as well as many other diseases. Pregnant women should be extremely careful since Listeria can cause a spontaneous abortion.
Although if treated promptly, Listeria can be killed, some do not seek help soon enough. As a rule of thumb, when feeling ill for more than a few days, go see a doctor and be prepared to explain any abnormalities in a normal routine or anything different that was noticed. Listeria can be killed with penicillin or other antimicrobials, but treatment is best when it is prompt.