Christmas travel and food can make you sick — unless you protect yourself.

If it reaches our central nervous system, it breaches the blood-brain barrier, which protects our brain from general circulation, and causes meningitis. In a pregnant woman, it can invade the placenta and infect the developing fetus. For this particular risk, pregnant women are often advised to avoid ready-to-eat food products, such as deli meats and soft cheeses, where Listeria monocytogenes can grow to lethal numbers. Listeria monocytogenes is well-adapted to grow under typical food preservation conditions, such as refrigeration temperatures, rendering the pathogen extremely difficult to eliminate.

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