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OBJECTIVE: To assess awareness, knowledge and behaviour relating to Listeria among recent mothers (12 weeks post-partum) in Western Australia and determine the usefulness of a Listeria information pamphlet. METHOD: A postal survey of a random 10% sample of Western Australian mothers whose babies were born between 1 January and 13 April 1997. RESULTS: Of the 680 women surveyed, 509 (75%) responded and 451 (89%) respondents had heard of Listeria. The 11% who had not heard of Listeria had higher odds of living in a rural area, speaking a foreign language at home, having less formal education, being younger, having had an unplanned pregnancy, and having not taken folic acid supplements. Respondents who had seen the Listeria pamphlet had greater odds of correctly identifying foods at risk of Listeria. Of the women who had heard of Listeria, 90% had avoided certain foods during their pregnancy. Risk factors for not changing eating behaviour were similar to those for not having heard of Listeria. CONCLUSIONS: Factors associated with not having heard of Listeria, not having seen the pamphlet and not having changed behaviour were similar, suggesting that there may be a group of women who are less likely to be aware of Listeria or other health issues and/or may be resistant to health-related behaviour changes. IMPLICATIONS: The Listeria pamphlet is an effective medium for educating pregnant women about Listeria. Rural, young, single and non-English speaking background women may require a different or supplementary approach.


Journal article


Aust N Z J Public Health

Publication Date





362 - 367


Adult, Female, Food Microbiology, Health Education, Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice, Humans, Listeriosis, Mothers, Pamphlets, Pregnancy, Risk Factors, Surveys and Questionnaires, Teaching Materials, Western Australia