Listeriosis is an infection caused by the bacteria known as Listeria monocytogenes. Since the condition is a bacterial infection, listeriosis treatment consists of antibiotics. Treatment can include the use of just one antibiotic, or a combination of different ones. Intravenous ampicillin is a frequent choice of antibiotic for the infection and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole is another type of antibiotic that can work as well. In general, though, listeriosis treatment depends on the severity of the infection, as determined by an affected person’s symptoms, as well as risk factors.
Usually, those who are healthy do not require any listeriosis treatment, as the infection does not become serious and goes away on its own. Sometimes, symptoms can be so mild that affected people do not even know they have an infection. On the other hand, listeriosis treatment is important for those who acquire a serious infection, as well as for those who are in the high-risk group for a serious infection. High-risk people include newborns and unborn babies, pregnant women, and those with weak immune systems, such as the elderly or the sick.
Although the prognosis for pregnant women is usually good, it is not the same for newborns or unborn babies. A pregnant woman will tend to exhibit mild symptoms of listeriosis. The danger is that she might not recognize her infection and can pass it down to her unborn baby through the umbilical cord before treatment starts. Taking antibiotics might help prevent harm to the unborn baby, but it is not guaranteed.
An early listeria infection of the unborn baby can result in a miscarriage, while a later one can result in either a premature birth or a stillbirth. In addition, newborns can acquire the infection shortly after birth, which can prove to be fatal within hours. If a newborn does have the infection, the doctor might prescribe a combination of antibiotics. It is possible for a newborn to overcome listeriosis, but he can suffer damage to his nervous system, as well as exhibit delayed development.
The prognosis for those with weak immune systems depends on their specific condition when they got the infection, as well as the time frame in which they received treatment. A weak immune system is less capable of fighting an infection than a normal immune system, making a severe case of the illness more likely to occur. Since listeriosis is an infection that can affect many different parts of the body, it can arise as various complications. For example, if an affected person suffers an infection in the lungs, he might then acquire pneumonia. Two other life-threatening complications of listeriosis are meningitis and septicemia.