A case of necrotizing brain stem encephalitis due to listeria monocytogenes is described in a 48-year-old man who had brain stem encephalitis of complicated course and with selective destruction of the vasomotoric and respiratory centers. He developed that very rare Ondine's curse syndrome, being only able to breathe when awake. The literature on Ondine's curse and brain stem encephalitis due to LM is reviewed. Brain stem encephalitis has a mortality near 100%. The only treatment for Ondine's curse is lifelong artificial ventilation.