Health
Department of Health and Human Services

Listeria monocytogenes infection in neonates

Key messages

  • Listeria often presents as a non specific flu like illness.
  • Listeria in neonates is life threatening
  • Listeria is transmitted to humans via contaminated food.
  • Listeria infection is classified as a notifiable disease.

Page contents: Prevalence and mortality rates | Clinical manifestations of listeria | Investigations | Treatment | More information

Listeria monocytogenes infection is transmitted to humans via food, especially unpasteurized dairy products contaminated by infected farm animals, soft cheeses, prepared deli meats and refrigerated meat spreads.

Listeria infection is life threatening for neonates and rapid diagnosis and treatment is important.

Prevalence and mortality rates

Clinical manifestations of listeria

Transplacental infection

Features include:

Early onset infection

Features include:

Late onset infection

Features include:

Usually presents as meningitis, probably due to nosocomial infection.
Median age of onset is about 14 days.

Investigations

Febrile pregnant women:

Sick neonates:

Gram stain can be variable and the organism slow growing.

Treatment

Note:

More information

Clinical

Consumer

References