Listeria neuromeningitis presents as febrile rhombencephalitis in half the patients, often with persistent sequelae such as cranial nerve palsy. We report the case of a man who developed central apnea with simultaneous consciousness impairment subsequent to an infectious disease. Magnetic resonance imaging showed low signal intensities in T1 and T2, particularly in the medulla. Neither acidosis, hypoxia nor hypercapnea stimulated the respiratory centers during episodes of apnea; ventilation started again only with strong voluntary stimulation. Pons and medulla lesions of the reticular formation were probable as well as lesions of the automatic respiratory system and could explain the central origin of the apnea in this patient.