Northwestern University

5 things to know about the listeria outbreak

5 things to know about the listeria outbreak

The deluge of food recalls in recent weeks, many of them stemming from the same listeria outbreak, seems to prompt more questions than answers.

Here are five things to help clear up the confusion.

1. Listeria can be fatal for some, but it's pretty much everywhere.

Listeriosis is an infection caused by eating food contaminated by a tiny germ with a big name — Listeria monocytogenes. Primarily, it affects pregnant women, those age 65 or older, and others with weakened immune systems, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In pregnant women, listeriosis can cause miscarriages or stillborn births. It can be...