HomeAnswersObstetrics and GynecologylisteriosisCan listeria infection result in fatal complications in a baby?

Is listeria infection fatal for a baby?


The following is an actual conversation between an iCliniq user and a doctor that has been reviewed and published as a Premium Q&A.

Answered by

Dr. Megha Tuli

Medically reviewed by

iCliniq medical review team

Published At April 5, 2016
Reviewed AtDecember 15, 2023

Patient's Query

Hello doctor,

My wife is 18 weeks pregnant. Last night we went out for dinner and she ordered a shrimp cocktail. The shrimp seems a bit off and so she only ate 3 or 4 then we returned them. She also felt a little unwell the next morning, but she had no fever. Her temperature was 34.5 degree Celsius. We have heard horror stories about listeria and pregnancy in addition to other things with eating fish and shrimp. Could this be a problem? Should we go and see our doctor? Are there any tests she can do to see if she caught anything? If so, what are the risks to the baby? Anything else you think we should know about or do?

Please advice us. Thank you in advance.

Answered by Dr. Megha Tuli


Welcome to icliniq.com.

I went through your query.

Listeria infection (through listeria contaminated food) is as such rare but if it does occur it is usually fatal for the baby. I am not trying to scare you. If you really feel that the shrimp might be undercooked and your wife did have some symptoms, then it is better to visit your doctor. Usually if food is adequately heated and eaten there is no risk. Some patients with listeria can have no symptoms, while others may have simple flu like symptoms and some may have full blown neurological symptoms. The severity of symptoms depends on individual's immunity. There are blood test or blood culture test to be specific which can check if your wife has got the infection or not. I really hope she does not. But, in case she does, the mental infection can be fatal. I really think it would be a good idea to visit your obstetrician for same.

Same symptoms don't mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Dr. Megha Tuli
Dr. Megha Tuli

Obstetrics and Gynecology

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