A blood test is often the most effective way to determine whether you have a listeria infection. In some cases, samples of urine or spinal fluid may be tested as well.

More Information


Treatment of listeria infection varies, depending on the severity of the signs and symptoms. Most people with mild symptoms require no treatment. More-serious infections can be treated with antibiotics.

During pregnancy, prompt antibiotic treatment may help keep the infection from affecting the baby. Newborns who have a listeria infection may receive a combination of antibiotics.

Preparing for your appointment

If you have eaten food that has been recalled because of listeria contamination, see a doctor only if you are experiencing signs and symptoms of a listeria infection.

What you can do

Before the appointment, you might want to write a list that answers the following questions:

  • What are your symptoms and when did they start?
  • Are you pregnant? If so, how far along are you?
  • Are you being treated for any other medical conditions?
  • What medications and supplements do you take?

You might also want to write a food diary, listing all the foods you've eaten each day for as far back as you can reliably remember. If foods that you've eaten have been implicated in a recall, also bring this information to your provider.

What to expect from your doctor

To help with diagnosis, your doctor may ask if you've recently consumed:

  • Soft cheeses, such as Brie, Camembert, feta, queso blanco or queso fresco
  • Raw milk or cheeses made of raw (unpasteurized) milk
  • Processed meats, such as hot dogs or cold cuts
  • Any foods that have been implicated in a recent food recall
Feb. 08, 2017
  1. Listeria (Listeriosis). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/listeria/index.html. Accessed Nov. 3, 2016.
  2. Ferri FF. Listeriosis. In: Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2017. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2017. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Nov. 3, 2016.
  3. Goldman L, et al., eds. Listeriosis. In: Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2016. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Nov. 3, 2016.
  4. Wilson CB, et al. Listeriosis. Remington and Klein's Infectious Diseases of the Fetus and Newborn Infant. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2016. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Nov. 3, 2016.


Associated Procedures

News from Mayo Clinic