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Listeriosis 

Listeriosis
Chapter:
Listeriosis
Author(s):

Herbert Hof

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198746690.003.0142
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date: 25 February 2021

Listeriosis is caused by the Gram-positive bacillus Listeria monocytogenes, whose natural habitat is the soil. Consumption of soft cheeses, other dairy products, meat products, seafood, and vegetables is the principal route of infection. Patients at particular risk include those who are immunocompromised, very young, or very old. Pregnant women are also at risk, although they develop only mild disease, but the bacteria can be transmitted to the child either in utero or during birth, causing serious systemic disease. The disease varies from a mild, influenza-like illness to fatal septicaemia and meningoencephalitis. Purulent, localized infections of any organ are sometimes seen. Aside from supportive care, the usual treatment of choice is high-dose intravenous ampicillin, which must be administered for at least 2 weeks. The prognosis is poor, with mortality of up to 30%. Prevention depends upon those that are vulnerable avoiding high-risk foods. There is no vaccine.

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