I am the pregnant woman you reference in your article “Listeriosis awareness among pregnant women and their health care providers in British Columbia” [BCMJ 2008;50:398-399]. The paper was also quoted in the Vancouver Sun on 18 September 2008. I was really surprised to read about my case and I was shocked when the author said “Although she had been counseled about food during her pregnancy, she was not aware of listeria or its potential risk to her and her baby. This case highlights a gap in the awareness of high-risk foods and listeriosis and preventive actions that can be taken by pregnant women.”
As a member of the South Community Birth Program my doctor did mention the risk of listeriosis, especially in sushi or any raw fish and in soft cheeses. I knew what listeriosis was and as a vegetarian I was really careful with what I was eating during my pregnancy. I even traveled to Africa when I was 8 weeks’ pregnant and I already knew not to eat any unpasteurized dairy products.
What I wasn’t aware of was the risk of listeriosis in queso blanco. I traveled to Costa Rica during my pregnancy (when I was 18 weeks’ pregnant) and when the person from BCCDC called me, I told her that I had read on one of the packages of queso blanco that it was pasteurized but I recalled buying another brand a few days later and I was not 100% sure if I read the package to see if this other brand was pasteurized. There is also a chance I caught listeria in raw vegetables that weren’t washed properly because while in Costa Rica we had problems with our running water. My research has also informed me that the incidence of listeriosis is quite high in Costa Rica.
As the latest outbreak has unfortunately highlighted, I agree that pregnant women need to be more aware of the risk of listeriosis, but I do not feel that my case is representative of someone who was uninformed.
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Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.
About the ICMJE and citation styles
The ICMJE is small group of editors of general medical journals who first met informally in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1978 to establish guidelines for the format of manuscripts submitted to their journals. The group became known as the Vancouver Group. Its requirements for manuscripts, including formats for bibliographic references developed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), were first published in 1979. The Vancouver Group expanded and evolved into the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), which meets annually. The ICMJE created the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals to help authors and editors create and distribute accurate, clear, easily accessible reports of biomedical studies.
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