Woman Recovers From Listeria Scare

An outbreak of listeria has been traced to cantaloupes from a farm in Colorado.

Nearly two dozen people in the Midwest have become six with listeria...including three in Nebraska.

One of the victims is making a full recovery after a scary few weeks.

"I just didn't feel good it started on a Sunday night and I thought maybe I was coming down with a cold and it just kept getting worse every day."

A few days later, Gloria Eriksen went to the emergency room.

"They kind of mentioned e-coli and things like that but they said it was a little bit worse," she said.

Doctor Rudy Kotula, an infectious disease specialist with Methodist Hospital diagnosed Gloria with listeria.

"I ate cantaloupe because I kind of like it," Gloria said.

The cantaloupe was tainted.

"There are two cases in Colorado which are linked to the outbreak all over the united states where two people actually died from listeria so its a potentially fatal illness," Dr. Kotula said.

Listeria is a bacteria found in animals, soil and water. Vegetables and fruit can contract it if they come in contact with contaminated soils or manure.

Products also made from raw milk can carry the bacteria and those with weakened immune systems are definitely at risk.

"I spent about three weeks altogether in the hospital and a care center where they had to infuse me every six hours," Gloria said.

The antibiotics helped her recover.

Dr. Kotula said more of us may put ourselves at risk, especially if we fertilize our gardens.

He recommends thoroughly washing all vegetables and fruits we grow and cook those that we can.

In pregnant women, the bacteria can cause high death rates and neurological damage to a developing fetus.

Gloria says Dr. Kotula's quick diagnosis saved her life.

"I'm just really fortunate," she said. "I have a wonderful doctor and he knew just what to do for it."

And she's back to an active lifestyle.

"Now I feel great," she said.

Dr. Kotula said listeria is also spread through deli meats and hot dogs and the bacteria can grow in the refrigerator.

He recommends throwing out any of the meats that have been opened for awhile.

Boiling or cooking meats and vegetables kills listeria.


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