Characteristics and frequency of detection of fecal Listeria monocytogenes shed by livestock, wildlife, and humans

Can J Microbiol. 2007 Oct;53(10):1158-67. doi: 10.1139/W07-084.


Listeria monocytogenes is a facultative intracellular pathogen that can be carried asymptomatically in various animals and can be shed in feces. We investigated the prevalence and characteristics of L. monocytogenes isolated from livestock, wildlife, and human potential sources of contamination in 2 areas in Ontario, Canada. From February 2003 to November 2005, a total of 268 fecal samples were collected from different animals. Listeria monocytogenes was isolated using selective enrichment, isolation, and confirmation procedures, and 15 samples (6%) yielded to the isolation of 84 confirmed strains. Listeria monocytogenes was isolated from livestock (beef and dairy), wildlife (deer, moose, otter, and raccoon), and human (biosolids and septic) fecal sources. Thirty-two isolates were from serovar 1/2a, 34 from serovar 1/2b, 1 from serovar 3a, and 17 from serovar 4b. Listeria monocytogenes populations were resolved into 13 EcoRI ribotypes, and 18 ApaI and 18 AscI pulsotypes, with Simpson indexes of discrimination of 0.878 and 0.907, respectively. A majority (59%) of L. monocytogenes isolates exhibited potential virulence linked to the production of a functional internalin A, which was supported by higher entry into Caco-2 cells (9.3%) than isolates producing truncated and secreted internalin A (1.3% of entry). Listeria monocytogenes fecal isolates were on average resistant to 6.4 +/- 2.5 antibiotics out of 17 tested, and potentially virulent isolates exhibited an enhanced resistance to kanamycin, gentamicin, streptomycin, and rifampicin. Livestock, wildlife, and human L. monocytogenes fecal communities exhibited overlapping but distinct populations, and some genotypes and phenotypes were similar to those previously described for surface water isolates in the same area.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Domestic / microbiology*
  • Animals, Wild / microbiology*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Caco-2 Cells
  • Deoxyribonuclease EcoRI / metabolism
  • Electrophoresis, Gel, Pulsed-Field
  • Feces / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Listeria monocytogenes / classification*
  • Listeria monocytogenes / drug effects
  • Listeria monocytogenes / isolation & purification*
  • Listeria monocytogenes / pathogenicity
  • Listeriosis / epidemiology*
  • Listeriosis / microbiology
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Polymorphism, Restriction Fragment Length
  • Prevalence
  • Ribotyping
  • Serotyping
  • Virulence


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Deoxyribonuclease EcoRI