Gastrointestinal & Zoonoses

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Gastrointestinal & Zoonoses


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Most cases of Listeria infection are food-borne. Meat, vegetables, unpasteurised milk and dairy products including soft cheeses have all been associated with illness. Cases can occur by person to person spread, including from mother to child at birth or in utero.

Main clinical features

Infection with Listeria monocytogenes can cause an influenza-like illness, septicaemia or a meningo-encephalitis. Pregnant women, newborn babies, the elderly and the immunocompromised are most at risk. Asymptomatic infection in pregnancy can be passed to the foetus resulting in a spectrum of disease including spontaneous abortion.

Incubation period

3 - 70 days.


Voluntary laboratory reports and surveillance of general outbreaks of infectious intestinal disease. All isolates of Listeria are reported as either L . monocytogenes or Listeria species . Since 2003, pregnancy associated cases are counted as just one case, even where there is a positive from both mother and infant.

Surveillance Tables