Background: Listeriosis can cause severe disease, especially in fetuses, neonates, older adults, and persons with certain immunocompromising and chronic conditions. We summarize US population-based surveillance data for invasive listeriosis from 2004 through 2009.
Methods: We analyzed Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet) data for patients with Listeria monocytogenes isolated from normally sterile sites. We describe the epidemiology of listeriosis, estimate overall and specific incidence rates, and compare pregnancy-associated and nonpregnancy-associated listeriosis by age and ethnicity.
Results: A total of 762 listeriosis cases were identified during the 6-year reporting period, including 126 pregnancy-associated cases (17%), 234 nonpregnancy-associated cases(31%) in patients aged <65 years, and 400 nonpregnancy-associated cases (53%) in patients aged ≥ 65 years. Eighteen percent of all cases were fatal. Meningitis was diagnosed in 44% of neonates. For 2004-2009, the overall annual incidence of listeriosis varied from 0.25 to 0.32 cases per 100,000 population. Among Hispanic women, the crude incidence of pregnancy-associated listeriosis increased from 5.09 to 12.37 cases per 100,000 for the periods of 2004-2006 and 2007-2009, respectively; among non-Hispanic women, pregnancy-associated listeriosis increased from 1.74 to 2.80 cases per 100,000 for the same periods. Incidence rates of nonpregnancy-associated listeriosis in patients aged ≥ 65 years were 4-5 times greater than overall rates annually.
Conclusions: Overall listeriosis incidence did not change significantly from 2004 through 2009. Further targeted prevention is needed, including food safety education and messaging (eg, avoiding Mexican-style cheese during pregnancy). Effective prevention among pregnant women, especially Hispanics, and older adults would substantially affect overall rates.