Listeriosis in human pregnancy: a systematic review

J Perinat Med. 2011 May;39(3):227-36. doi: 10.1515/jpm.2011.035. Epub 2011 Apr 25.


Listeria is commonly found in processed and prepared foods and listeriosis is associated with high morbidity and mortality. Preventative measures are well prescribed and monitoring and voluntary recall of contaminated products has resulted in a 44% reduction in the prevalence of perinatal listeriosis in the USA. Pregnant women are at high risk for listeriosis, but symptoms are non-specific and diagnosis is difficult. The intracellular life-cycle of Listeria protects the bacterium from host innate and adaptive immune responses. Antibiotic treatment requires agents able to penetrate, distribute, and remain stable within host cells. Prolonged use of high-dose ampicillin can significantly improve neonatal outcome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Food Microbiology
  • Foodborne Diseases / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical
  • Listeria monocytogenes / growth & development
  • Listeriosis* / diagnosis
  • Listeriosis* / drug therapy
  • Listeriosis* / prevention & control
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious* / diagnosis
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious* / drug therapy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious* / prevention & control
  • Risk Factors
  • Seasons


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents