In February 1999, an outbreak of listeriosis caused by Listeria monocytogenes serotype 3a occurred in Finland. All isolates were identical. The outbreak strain was first isolated in 1997 in dairy butter. This dairy began delivery to a tertiary care hospital (TCH) in June 1998. From June 1998 to April 1999, 25 case patients were identified (20 with sepsis, 4 with meningitis, and 1 with abscess; 6 patients died). Patients with the outbreak strain were more likely to have been admitted to the TCH than were patients with other strains of L. monocytogenes (60% vs. 8%; odds ratio, 17.3; 95% confidence interval, 2.8-136.8). Case patients admitted to the TCH had been hospitalized longer before cultures tested positive than had matched controls (median, 31 vs. 10 days; P=.008). An investigation found the outbreak strain in packaged butter served at the TCH and at the source dairy. Recall of the product ended the outbreak.
An outbreak of listeriosis in Sweden, consisting of nine cases, was investigated by means of molecular typing of strains from patients and strains isolated from suspected foodstuffs, together with interviews of the patients. Listeria monocytogenes was isolated from six of the patients, and all isolates were of the same clonal type. This clonal type was also isolated from a "gravad" rainbow trout, made by producer Y, found in the refrigerator of one of the patients. Unopened packages obtained from producer Y were also found to contain the same clonal type of L. monocytogenes. Based on the interview results and the bacteriological typing, we suspect that at least six of the nine cases were caused by gravad or cold-smoked rainbow trout made by producer Y. To our knowledge, this is the first rainbow trout-borne outbreak of listeriosis ever reported.
Public health authorities place a high priority on investigating listeriosis outbreaks, and these epidemiological investigations remain challenging. Some approaches have been described in the literature to address these challenges. This review of listeriosis clusters and outbreaks investigated in the Province of Quebec (Quebec) highlights investigative approaches that contributed to identifying the source of these outbreaks.
The Laboratoire de Santé Publique du Québec (LSPQ) implemented pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) molecular subtyping in 1997 to identify Listeria monocytogenes clusters among isolates from invasive listeriosis cases identified throughout Quebec. A cluster was defined as three cases or more with the same or similar PFGE profiles (=3 band difference) occurring over a 4-month period. An investigation was initiated if the epidemiologic indicators suggested a common source. Listeriosis data from LSPQ's database were reviewed to identify and describe clusters detected from 1997 to 2011, including those that led to an outbreak investigation. Epidemiological reports prepared following each outbreak were also reviewed.
Eleven clusters were identified in the province by LSPQ between 1997 and 2011. Outbreak investigations were initiated for six clusters, four of which involved more than 10 cases. Factors that contributed to identifying the source for three of these outbreaks highlighted the value of (1) making all stakeholders (food safety and inspection services, public health authorities, and laboratories) aware of any ongoing investigation and sharing relevant information even if the source is not yet identified; (2) promptly collecting food samples identified and considered as possible vehicles of infection identified during the interview of a Listeria case; (3) collecting food items and/or environmental samples in locations reported in common by cases in the same cluster.
Multiple approaches should be considered when investigating L. monocytogenes clusters. Networks to facilitate continuous exchange of human and food data between public health and food safety partners should be encouraged.
An outbreak of febrile gastroenteritis affected consumers of on-farm manufactured dairy products from a summer farm in Sweden. Symptoms included diarrhoea, fever, stomach cramps and vomiting in 88, 60, 54 and 21% of cases identified. The median incubation period was 31 h. A cohort study with 33 consumers showed an attack rate of 52% and an association between the total amount of product eaten and illness (P=0.07). Twenty-seven of 32 (84%) stool samples cultured for Listeria monocytogenes tested positive, although there was no association between clinical disease and the isolation of L. monocytogenes. In addition, gene sequences for VTEC and ETEC were detected in 6 and 1 subjects, respectively. Bacteriological analysis of cheese samples revealed heavy contamination with L. monocytogenes and coagulase positive staphylococci in all of them and gene markers for VTEC in one of them. Molecular profiles for L. monocytogenes isolated from dairy products, stool samples and an abscess from 1 patient who developed septic arthritis were identical. Results of both microbiological and epidemiological analyses point to L. monocytogenes as the most likely cause of this outbreak. The finding of markers for VTEC in some humans and cheese samples means that a mixed aetiology at least in some cases cannot be conclusively ruled out.
Isolates of Listeria monocytogenes (n = 932) isolated in Sweden during 1958-2010 from human patients with invasive listeriosis were characterized by serotyping and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) (AscI). Of the 932 isolates, 183 different PFGE types were identified, of which 83 were each represented by only one isolate. In all, 483 serovar 1/2a isolates were distributed over 114 PFGE types; 90 serovar 1/2b isolates gave 32 PFGE types; 21 serovar 1/2c isolates gave nine PFGE types; three serovar 3b isolates gave one PFGE type; and, 335 serovar 4b isolates gave 31 PFGE types. During the 1980s in Sweden, several serovar 4b cases were associated with the consumption of European raw soft cheese. However, as cheese-production hygiene has improved, the number of 4b cases has decreased. Since 1996, serovar 1/2a has been the dominant L. monocytogenes serovar in human listeriosis in Sweden. Therefore, based on current serovars and PFGE types, an association between human cases of listeriosis and the consumption of vacuum-packed gravad and cold-smoked salmon is suggested.
INTRODUCTION: Listeria monocytogenes rarely causes meningitis, but when it does the course can be severe and case fatality rates high. The article describes clinical and laboratory findings as well as treatment and outcome among patients treated for listerial meningitis at the Department of Infectious diseases, Rigshospitalet from 1983-2006. MATERIAL AND METHODS: Patient records were reviewed for all adults with a diagnosis of listerial meningitis. RESULTS: A total of 40 patients with a discharge diagnosis of listerial meningitis were identified; records for 36 of these were available. 61% were men and 72% were older than 50 years. 64% had underlying, predisposing illnesses or took immunosuppressant medication. At presentation, patients had fever, neck stiffness, headache and/or change in mental status. The cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) cell count was raised in all patients, but the number and differential count of leukocytes in the CSF varied. L monocytogenes was present in blood and/or CSF from all patients. Treatment records were available for 35 patients, all of whom received ampicillin. Four patients died; they all had underlying diseases and three were older than 50 years. CONCLUSION: The present study confirms the findings of other studies showing that listerial meningitis is more common in patients with underlying conditions, immunosuppression or age above 50. The case fatality rate is lower than that found in other reports, which could be due to the selection of patients. Listeriosis is an important differential diagnosis in predisposed individuals.
Listeria monocytogenes strains that were isolated from 314 human listeriosis cases in Finland during an 11-year period were analyzed by O:H serotyping and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). Serotyping divided the isolates into five serotypes, the most common being 1/2a (53%) and 4b (27%). During the study period, the number of cases caused by serotype 1/2a increased from 22% in 1990 to 67% in 2001, and those caused by serotype 4b decreased from 61 to 27%, respectively. PFGE with restriction enzyme AscI divided the strains into 81 PFGE genotypes; among strains of serotypes 1/2a and 4b, 49 and 18 PFGE types were seen, respectively. PFGE type 1 (serotype 1/2a) was the most prevalent single type (37 strains). Together with six other, closely related PFGE types, PFGE type 1 formed a group of 71 strains, representing 23% of all 314 strains. Strains of PFGE type 1 have also been isolated from cold smoked fish, suggesting a source of human infections caused by this type. Moreover, PFGE type 24 (serotype 1/2c) was significantly associated with gender: 5% of 180 male subjects but none of 132 female subjects (P = 0.012). An electronic database library was created from the PFGE profiles to make possible the prompt detection of new emerging profiles and the tracing of potential infection clusters in the future.
The purpose of our study was to review all cases of listeriosis in Iceland during the period 1978-2000 and to analyse the genetic relatedness of their isolates. Case records of all patients in Iceland with listeriosis during the period were reviewed and the isolates compared using serotyping and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) using SmaI, AseI and ApaI restriction enzymes. Forty cases of listeriosis were diagnosed during the period, resulting in a mean annual incidence of 6.9 cases per million and a case fatality rate of 33%. In the first 5 y of the study only serotype 4b was observed; subsequently serotypes 1/2a and 1/2b appeared and serotype 4b declined in prevalence. PFGE yielded 24 different genotypes with 7 clusters of indistinguishable genotypes, each comprising 2-6 cases. During 1992-95 the annual incidence of listeriosis in Iceland rose to 15 cases per million. This was largely due to 2 clusters, 1 of 3 cases and the other of 6. No cases of listeriosis were diagnosed during 1998-2000. Our data show an increased number of cases within clusters in the latter half of the period. At the same time, food processing and distribution has become increasingly centralized in Iceland, suggesting an increased risk of listeriosis outbreaks.
To determine the long-term mortality, the causes of death and the incidence of cancer in listeria meningitis patients.
Nationwide, population-based cohort study including all adult patients diagnosed with listeria meningitis from 1977 to 2006 and alive 1 year after diagnosis, and an age-and gender-matched, population control cohort. Kaplan-Meier tables, Cox regression analysis and cumulative incidence function were used as outcome analyses.
We identified 114 listeria meningitis patients and 1026 population controls. The adjusted mortality rate ratio (MRR) for listeria meningitis patients the first 5 years of follow-up was 2.35(95% confidence interval (CI) 1.60-3.45) thereafter the MRR was 0.93(95% CI: 0.56-1.55). Listeria meningitis patients had an increased risk of death due to cancer the first 5 years of follow-up, and in the same period patients above 50 years of age had a 2-fold increased risk of being diagnosed with cancer, thereafter the risks declined to that of the background population.
The long-term mortality in adult patients diagnosed with listeria meningitis was increased the first 5 years of follow-up, mainly due to death from cancer, thereafter the mortality did not differ from the background population. To improve survival this patient population should be meticulously screened for predisposing conditions, mainly underlying malignant diseases.