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Listeria facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Micrograph of Listeria monocytogenes
Scientific classification
Division: Firmicutes
Class: Bacilli
Order: Bacillales
Family: Listeriaceae
Genus: Listeria
Pirie 1940

Listeria is a genus of bacteria with about ten species. It is named after Joseph Lister. Listeria are very common, they occur almost everywhere. Two of the ten species are pathogens: they can cause a disease called listeriosis in decaying food.

In 2011, 21 people died from listeriosis by eating cantaloupes from a Colorado farm. In 1998, hot dogs and possibly deli meats made by Bil Mar Foods, a subsidiary of Sara Lee Corp., also had listeria and killed 21 people. In 1985, listeria in Mexican-style soft cheese was linked to 52 deaths.

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