Two hundred seventy-nine cases of human listeriosis (92 pregnancy-related cases and 187 non-pregnancy-related cases) caused by a serovar 4b and phagovar 2389:2425:3274:2671:47:108:340 strain were identified in France between March and December 1992. Epidemiological investigations included a case-control study (not described here) and microbiological analyses of foods. Results of the case-control study and characterization of food isolates identified pork tongue in jelly, a ready-to-eat meat product, as the major vehicle of this outbreak, and to a lesser extent, delicatessen products contaminated secondarily during handling in food stores. As far as serotyping, phage typing, DNA macrorestriction pattern analysis (obtained by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis [PFGE]), and ribotyping are concerned, this epidemic strain is phenotypically and genomically closely related to strains responsible for major outbreaks of listeriosis previously observed in Europe and North America. The epidemic strain sensu stricto as defined by PFGE (2/1/3) displayed the same serovar, phagovar, ribovar, and ApaI and NotI PFGE patterns as the epidemic strains from outbreaks in Switzerland, California, and Denmark, but it consistently showed differences in the SmaI PFGE profile. This information greatly contributed to the identification of the major food vehicle (pork tongue in jelly) and further allowed exclusion of other foods (cheese) as possible sources of this major listeriosis epidemic.
To evaluate the prevalence and genetic diversity of Listeria monocytogenes in wild birds and to compare the genotypes with isolates previously collected from foods and food processing environments.
Samples of wild birds' faeces (n = 212) were collected from a municipal landfill site and from urban areas in the Helsinki region and analysed by two-step enrichment and plating onto L. monocytogenes-selective agar. The overall prevalence of L. monocytogenes in bird faeces was 36% (95% CI 30-43%), and prevalence on the landfill site was significantly higher. All isolates were analysed with pulsed-field gel electrophoresis and compared with the L. monocytogenes profiles in an existing collection. Similar pulsotypes were found in birds and in isolates collected along the food chain.
Birds commonly carry L. monocytogenes, and strains are frequently similar with those detected in foods and food processing environments. Thus, birds may disseminate L. monocytogenes in nature and may also contaminate foods when entering the food processing environments and outdoor market places.
Populations of L. monocytogenes in wild birds and along the food processing chain overlap. Our findings add to the epidemiological data on this significant foodborne pathogen.
The results of the bacteriological study of material, taken from humans, rodents, hydro-bios and environmental objects (including foodstuffs) in the Primorsky Territory, for the presence of L. monocytogenes bacteria are given. 83 bacterial strains of the genus Listeria were isolated. As revealed in this study, 25 of these strains belonged to L. monocytogenes (30.12%), 8 strains--to L. innocua (9.6%), 6 strains--to L. seeligeri (7.2%) and 2 strains--to L. ivanovii (2.4%). The greatest number of L. monocytogenes was isolated from foodstuffs and environmental objects. Some biological properties of L. monocytogenes were studied, the degree of their pathogenicity and sensitivity to antimicrobial preparations were determined.
The objective of this study was to characterize Listeria monocytogenes isolated from farmed Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) and the processing environment in three different Norwegian factories, and compare these to clinical isolates by multiple-locus variable-number tandem repeat analysis (MLVA). The 65 L. monocytogenes isolates obtained gave 15 distinct MLVA profiles. There was great heterogeneity in the distribution of MLVA profiles in factories and within each factory. Nine of the 15 MLVA profiles found in the fish-associated isolates were found to match human profiles. The MLVA profile 07-07-09-10-06 was the most common strain in Norwegian listeriosis patients. L. monocytogenes with this profile has previously been associated with at least two known listeriosis outbreaks in Norway, neither determined to be due to fish consumption. However, since this profile was also found in fish and in the processing environment, fish should be considered as a possible food vehicle during sporadic cases and outbreaks of listeriosis.
Listeria monocytogenes contamination of ready-to-eat food products such as cold-smoked fish is often caused by pathogen subtypes persisting in food-processing environments. The purpose of the present study was to determine whether these L. monocytogenes subtypes can be found in the outside environment, i.e., outside food processing plants, and whether they survive better in the aquatic environment than do other strains. A total of 400 samples were collected from the outside environment, fish slaughterhouses, fish farms, and a smokehouse. L. monocytogenes was not detected in a freshwater stream, but prevalence increased with the degree of human activity: 2% in seawater fish farms, 10% in freshwater fish farms, 16% in fish slaughterhouses, and 68% in a fish smokehouse. The fish farms and slaughterhouses processed Danish rainbow trout, whereas the smokehouse was used for farm-raised Norwegian salmon. No variation with season was observed. Inside the processing plants, the pattern of randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) types was homogeneous, but greater diversity existed among isolates from the outside environments. The RAPD type dominating the inside of the fish smokehouse was found only sporadically in outside environments. To examine survival in different environments, L. monocytogenes or Listeria innocua strains were inoculated into freshwater and saltwater microcosms. Pathogen counts decreased over time in Instant Ocean and remained constant in phosphate-buffered saline. In contrast, counts decreased rapidly in natural seawater and fresh water. The count reduction was much slower when the natural waters were autoclaved or filtered (0.2-microm pore size), indicating that the pathogen reduction in natural waters was attributable to a biological mechanism, e.g., protozoan grazing. A low prevalence of L. monocytogenes was found in the outside environment, and the bacteria did not survive well in natural environments. Therefore, L. monocytogenes in the outer environment associated with Danish fish processing is probably of minor importance to the environment inside a fish production plant.
Identification and prioritisation of food safety interventions requires an understanding of the relationship between food, pathogens and cases. Such understanding can be gained through different approaches, e.g. microbial subtyping to attribute cases of foodborne disease to food vehicles or other sources of illness. In this study, Listeria monocytogenes isolates (n=166) from (i) three categories of ready-to-eat (RTE) foods, (ii) food processing plant environments, and (iii) human listeriosis cases, all sampled during 2010 in Sweden, were subtyped. In addition, 121 isolates from human listeriosis cases, collected 2005-2009, were subtyped. Subtyping consisted of both serotyping (conventional method and PCR) and genotyping using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). Serotype 1/2a dominated in all three groups of isolates (range 73-96%). Eighteen percent of the human isolates (2010) belonged to serotype 4b, but only 1.4% of the food isolates. The food isolates differentiated into 19 pulsotypes (ID=0.843), the human isolates collected 2010 into 31 pulsotypes (ID=0.950) and the processing plant isolates into 22 pulsotypes (ID=0.991). Six of the pulsotypes were shared between the food and human isolates. These pulsotypes comprised 42% of the human isolates and 59% of the food isolates. For some processing plants, there was suggested persistence of one or more specific L. monocytogenes strains, as indicated by repetitive isolation of the same pulsotype from food. This study indicated the presence of L. monocytogenes in the processing plant environment as a likely source of contamination of gravad and cold-smoked fish, and this food category as an important source of human exposure to the pathogen.
We examined specimens for L. monocytogenes using the "cold enrichment" technique of Gray et al. (J. Bacteriol., 55: 471, 1948) and a nalidixic agar plate (Ann. Inst. Pasteur 111: 90, 1966). Between 1974 and May 1981, we isolated L. monocytogenes from four of 5,255 specimens (rectal, vaginal and placental swabs; blood; spinal fluid; semen; necropsy material) which came from eight human populations (neonates, children, adult men, and pregnant and nonpregnant women) and from 161 animals. Three of the isolated strains were type 1, and they came from a newborn born at 32 weeks' gestation, that child's mother, and another woman who had recently delivered. The fourth (type 4b) came from a newborn twin born at 36 1/2 weeks' gestation. In June through October 1981, in 529 specimens, we isolated L. monocytogenes type 1/2 from two of four larvae tested (four earwigs and five slugs were all negative) and from three of 27 samples of fresh chicken liver (however, 18 samples of coleslaw were negative). At the same time, we isolated L. monocytogenes (not yet typed) from a rectal swab from one of 112 dogs examined. Rectal swabs from 107 cats were negative, as were vaginal swabs from 144 women and urine samples from 108 newborns.
In the process of batch cultivation the strains under study are capable of prolonged growth at low temperature in rich and poor nutrient media (with the term of observation equal to 4 months), while at a temperature of 37 degrees C microbial populations quickly die (in 8-35 days). In the absence of compounds containing carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen in the nutrient medium, Listeria can proliferate under such conditions. As established with the use of gas chromatography and the radioisotopic method, they can uptake carbon dioxide, hydrogen and nitrogen from the air gas mixture, using carbon of the first gas for the synthesis of the main biopolymers (proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, DNA and RNA) and the second one as the source of energy. During the cultivation of Listeria at low temperature in poor nutrient media (soil microecosystems, synthetic mineral media) they are capable of preserving and under favorable conditions also increasing their virulence. Its increase is facilitated by capsule formation, mobility, chemotaxis, adhesion and invasion enhancing under such conditions.
Listeria spp. and Listeria monocytogenes contamination of cold-smoked salmon (n=125) and its processing environment (n=522) were evaluated during surveys conducted in 1997-1998 and 2001 as well as in samples of final products analysed in 2001. The overall frequencies of Listeria spp. and L. monocytogenes in samples from all sources were 15.1% and 11.3%, respectively, but the incidence of L. monocytogenes in cold-smoked salmon final products was only 4%. A total of 201 L. monocytogenes isolates were characterised by Pulsed-Field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE) in order to trace L. monocytogenes contamination in the processing plants. The combination of AscI and ApaI macrorestriction patterns yielded 24 different pulsotypes in 6 plants. One pulsotype observed by AscI restriction digestion comprised 148 of the 167 typed isolates from two processing plants. Two other pulsotypes predominated in samples from raw material, processing environments and final products. The results indicate that raw material, floors, and drains are potential sources of the L. monocytogenes found on cold-smoked salmon products. This highlights the need to readdress the design and cleaning of processing plants and equipment, and staff behavior. Hindering the introduction into and spread of the organism through the processing environment is necessary to avoid jeopardizing safety of the final product.