The best way to prevent getting listeriosis is to always ensure that you follow good basic food hygiene. This includes:
- Peeling raw vegetables, salads or fruit, or washing them thoroughly before eating.
- Washing your hands before preparing food, before eating and after going to the toilet.
- Washing kitchen surfaces and utensils regularly, particularly after preparing raw meat, poultry and eggs.
- Always separating raw foods from ready-to-eat foods. Don’t store raw meat above ready-to-eat foods, because there’s a risk that juice containing harmful bacteria may leak from the raw meat.
- Always cooking food thoroughly and checking cooking instructions carefully, including the cooking time.
For foods that are “ready to eat”, the most important ways of reducing the risk of listeriosis are to:
- not use food after its “use by” date
- make sure that the temperature of your fridge is 0-5C
- follow storage instructions on food labels
As an alemtuzumabers’ are high-risk group for catching listeriosis, you should avoid eating foods known to be at risk of listeria contamination. Foods to avoid include:
- soft mould-ripened cheese – such as Brie, Camembert and chèvre (a type of goat’s cheese)
- soft blue-veined cheese – such as Danish blue and gorgonzola
- all types of pâté – including vegetable pâté
- unpasteurised milk
- undercooked food
It’s safe to eat hard blue-veined cheese , such as Stilton, as well as other types of hard cheese, including Cheddar and Parmesan – even if these are made from unpasteurised milk.
Read more about foods to avoid after alemtuzumab and during pregnancy.
Read more about the potential risks of close contact with farm animals on GOV.UK.
Penkert et al. Fulminant Central Nervous System Nocardiosis in a Patient Treated With Alemtuzumab for Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis. JAMA Neurol. 2016 Jun 1;73(6):757-9.
Rau et al. Listeria Meningitis Complicating Alemtuzumab Treatment in Multiple Sclerosis–Report of Two Cases. Int J Mol Sci. 2015 Jun 29;16(7):14669-76.
Alemtuzumab, a humanized monoclonal antibody targeting the surface molecule CD52, leads to a rapid depletion of immune cells in the innate and adaptive immune system. In phase 2 and 3 trials in multiple sclerosis (MS), infections have been reported more frequently inalemtuzumab than in interferon beta treated patients. Here we report two patients treated with alemtuzumab for MS developing Listeriameningitis few days after the first infusion cycle. Both patients recovered completely after prompt diagnosis and adequate treatment. Physicians and patients should be aware of this serious, but treatable complication.