A dangerous foodborne pathogen
Listeria monocytogenes is worldwide a very important foodborne pathogen causing potentially fatal listeriosis, with 2,200 cases reported in the EU in 2015. The US center of disease control (CDC) estimates that L. monocytogenes is the third leading cause of death from foodborne illness, or food poisoning, in the United States. The disease affects especially pregnant women and their newborns, people with weakened immune systems and adults aged 65 or older. The latter group represented about 64% of the confirmed cases with known age in the EU; 20% of the cases in this patient group were fatal.*
* European summary report on trends and sources of zoonoses, zoonotic agents and food-borne outbreaks in 2015, published by EFSA and ECDC in 2016. Data on case numbers for Europe come from the European Surveillance system (TESSy).
The members of the Listeria monocytogenes group (L. monocytogenes, L. ivanovii, L. innocua, L. welshimeri and L. seeligeri) show only slight differences on genetic and proteomic levels. Until recently, there were no rapid solutions for the identification of L. monocytogenes.
Not for use in clinical diagnostic procedures.