Section: Documento especial
Pregnant women are considered to be a high risk group due to the serious complications they can have and their specific susceptibility to some infectious diseases. In Spain, reported outbreaks of the main infectious foodborne diseases are scarce. However, because of their particularly high vulnerability and to the health monitoring associated to pregnancy, pregnant women are a specific population group in which highly effective preventive measures can be applied based on transmission risk.
Among foodborne diseases being particularly relevant during pregnancy, listeriosis must be highlighted. In spite of being uncommon, listeriosis causes serious fetal changes that can result in miscarriage, stillborn or premature birth, meningitis, or septicemia. Toxoplasma gondii can also cause serious fetal infections resulting in miscarriages, perinatal lethality, and congenital abnormalities involving brain, eyes and other organs in fetus. Other pathogens being uncommonly transmitted by food that can result in serious changes in pregnant women and/or fetuses include Brucella spp., hepatitis E virus, verotoxigenic E. coli, Salmonella spp. and Campylobacter spp.
Public health education, along with preventive measures in food production, elaboration, and distribution, are the main factor to reduce microbial risks resulting from food consumption. Thus, with an aim to define the foundations for management actions and risk reporting, the scientific committee has reviewed main foodborne pathogens causing a particular risk during pregnancy. For each one, factors influencing survival and growth, as well as food items most commonly involved in transmission are reported.
A list of food items to be avoided during pregnancy to minimize infection risk mainly by Listeria monocytogenes and toxoplasma, but also by other pathogens being considered, is included in the paper.
The need to include instructions for healthy handling of food at home in any communication campaign on infections risk is highlighted.
pregnancy; microbial risks; listeria; toxoplasma; foodborne pathogens; cross contaminationhealthy food handling
Versión en Español
Informe del Comité Científico de la Agencia Española de Consumo, Seguridad Alimentaria y Nutrición (AECOSAN) en relación con los riesgos microbiológicos asociados al consumo de determinados alimentos por mujeres embarazadas (versión resumen)
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