Neonatal listeriosis in Taiwan, 1990-2007

Int J Infect Dis. 2009 Mar;13(2):193-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ijid.2008.06.006. Epub 2008 Sep 3.


Objectives: Listeria monocytogenes is an important pathogen in neonates in Western countries, with a fatality rate of 20-30%. There is limited information on neonatal listeriosis in Eastern countries. The purpose of this study was to delineate the occurrence and clinical picture of neonatal listeriosis in Taiwan.

Methods: A questionnaire-based survey of all of the 17 medical centers in Taiwan was performed, and a literature review of neonatal listeriosis as reported in Taiwan from 1990 to 2007 was made.

Results: A total of 14 cases (10 male, four female) of neonatal listeriosis were identified, including 11 found from the survey of four medical centers and another three collected from the literature review. Three were found to have occurred prior to 2000 and 11 were found to have occurred after 2000. The age of onset was less than 3 days in all cases. L. monocytogenes was identified from blood in 13, cerebrospinal fluid in four, and gastric aspirate in two. Half of the cases (7/14) had involvement of the central nervous system with pleocytosis and hypoglycorrhachia in cerebrospinal fluid, and three of them even developed hydrocephalus. The mortality rate was 29%.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that listeriosis may emerge as an important health threat among newborn infants in Taiwan.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Academic Medical Centers / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant Mortality
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases* / microbiology
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases* / mortality
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases* / physiopathology
  • Infant, Premature
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases* / microbiology
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases* / mortality
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases* / physiopathology
  • Listeria monocytogenes* / isolation & purification
  • Listeriosis* / epidemiology
  • Listeriosis* / microbiology
  • Listeriosis* / mortality
  • Listeriosis* / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Population Surveillance / methods
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Taiwan / epidemiology