Clinical management of women with listeriosis risk during pregnancy: a review of national guidelines

Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2018 Jan;16(1):13-21. doi: 10.1080/14787210.2018.1417837. Epub 2017 Dec 22.


Listeriosis is an uncommon foodborne infection that may cause moderate maternal illness, but can be extremely serious for the fetus and the newborn. Several guidelines have been elaborated in order to help clinicians on the care of pregnant women with known or suspected exposure to Listeria monocytogenes. The aim of this review is to collect, assess and summarize them, in order to provide a comprehensive overlook and to highlight the grey areas in the guidance that could result in failure to detect some infected but asymptomatic women. Areas covered: A literature review was performed to provide an update on listeriosis infections, with a greater focus on diagnosis and management of pregnancy-related cases. Expert commentary: Since pregnancy-associated listeriosis causes potentially fatal consequences, it is important that healthcare providers recognize earlier symptoms, diagnosis methods and treatment of the infection. Listeriosis could be asymptomatic and/or a pregnant woman could not be aware of being exposed to Listeria, therefore a serological test is suggested to detect the presence of anti-listeriolysin O antibodies in blood. Finally, a final flowchart is proposed that could improve the early diagnosis of the infection in pregnant women.

Keywords: Listeria monocytogenes; diagnosis; listeriosis; pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Toxins / immunology
  • Female
  • Food Microbiology
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / immunology
  • Hemolysin Proteins / immunology
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Listeria monocytogenes / isolation & purification*
  • Listeriosis / diagnosis
  • Listeriosis / prevention & control*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / diagnosis
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / microbiology
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / prevention & control*
  • Risk


  • Bacterial Toxins
  • Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Hemolysin Proteins
  • hlyA protein, Listeria monocytogenes