Epidemiology and Clinical Manifestations of Listeria monocytogenes Infection

Microbiol Spectr. 2019 May;7(3). doi: 10.1128/microbiolspec.GPP3-0014-2018.


Listeria monocytogenes is a Gram-positive pathogenic bacterium which can be found in soil or water. Infection with the organism can develop after ingestion of contaminated food products. Small and large outbreaks of listeriosis have been described. Listeria monocytogenes can cause a number of clinical syndromes, most frequently sepsis, meningitis, and rhombencephalitis, particularly in immunocompromised hosts. The latter syndrome mimics the veterinary infection in ruminants called "circling disease". Neonatal infection can occur as a result of maternal chorioamnionitis ("early onset" sepsis) or through passage through a birth canal colonized with Listeria from the gastrointestinal tract. ("late onset" meningitis). Treatment of listeriosis is usually with a combination of ampicillin and an aminoglycoside but other regimens have been used. The mortality rate is high, reflecting the combination of an immunocompromised host and an often delayed diagnosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biliary Tract Diseases / microbiology
  • Encephalitis / microbiology
  • Female
  • Foodborne Diseases / microbiology
  • Gastroenteritis / microbiology
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology
  • Hepatitis / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Listeria monocytogenes / pathogenicity*
  • Listeriosis / diagnosis
  • Listeriosis / epidemiology*
  • Listeriosis / microbiology*
  • Listeriosis / physiopathology*
  • Liver Abscess / microbiology
  • Meningitis / microbiology
  • Meningoencephalitis / microbiology
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / microbiology
  • Peritonitis / microbiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Sepsis / microbiology