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Listeria facts for kids

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Listeria
Scanning electron micrograph of Listeria monocytogenes.
Scientific classification
Domain: Bacteria
Division: Firmicutes
Class: Bacilli
Order: Bacillales
Family: Listeriaceae
Genus: Listeria
Pirie 1940
Species

L. aquatica
L. booriae
L. cornellensis
L. fleischmannii
L. floridensis
L. grandensis
L. grayi
L. innocua
L. ivanovii
L. marthii
L. monocytogenes
L. newyorkensis
L. riparia
L. rocourtiae
L. seeligeri
L. weihenstephanensis
L. welshimeri

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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