Serious infection with the bacterium L. monocytogenes mainly manifests as sepsis and/or meningitis. A particular entity is Listeria brain stem encephalitis, which is characterized by progressive brain stem deficits. The condition is fatal unless early treated. The purpose of the present study was to assess the incidence of brain stem encephalitis in a population-based listeriosis material. Medical records from 212 of the 240 patients with serious listeriosis reported in Norway from 1977 to 2000, as well as autopsy material from 8 of these patients, were available. This material was searched for clinical and neuropathological evidence of brain stem infection. Findings indicating brain stem encephalitis were present in 19 of the 172 patients with adult listeriosis (11%) but none of the 40 pregnancy-related listeriosis cases. None of the 19 patients had been diagnosed with Listeria brain stem infection originally. We conclude that brain stem encephalitis is relatively common in this Norwegian listeriosis material.
Immunisation against listeriosis in sheep using a live, attenuated vaccine was introduced in Norway in 1984. Since then 65,000 to 80,000 animals have been vaccinated annually. Information obtained by a questionnaire showed that the incidence of listeriosis decreased from approximately 4.0 per cent before the introduction of the vaccine to 1.5 per cent after vaccination started. The incidence of abortions was 0.7 per cent in vaccinated flocks compared to 1.1 per cent in unvaccinated flocks. There were a few adverse reactions in the vaccinated sheep.
To investigate the bacteriological quality, and the occurrence of selected pathogenic bacteria from organically grown Iceberg lettuce fertilized with bovine manure in the form of compost, firm manure and slurry in a 2-year field trial.
Samples of soil, fertilizer, fertilized soil, seedlings and lettuce were analysed for aerobic plate counts (APC), thermotolerant coliform bacteria (TCB), Escherichia coli, E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella spp. and Listeria monocytogenes. No difference in bacteriological quality could be shown in lettuce at harvest, however, APC varied significantly from year to year in the study. The various treatments gave significantly different APC and numbers of TCB isolated from fertilized soil. Escherichia coli O157:H7 was isolated from firm manure and slurry, and soils fertilized with the respective fertilizers the second year, but were not recovered from the lettuce.
No difference in bacteriological quality could be detected in lettuce at harvest after application of various types of manure-based fertilizers grown under Norwegian conditions.
The results may indicate that the use of manure does not have considerable influence on the bacteriological quality of organic lettuce. However, others have suggested that there is a risk by using manure. There is a need for more research in the field.
The background microbiota of 5 Norwegian small-scale cheese production sites was examined and the effect of the isolated strains on the growth and survival of Listeria monocytogenes was investigated. Samples were taken from the air, food contact surfaces (storage surfaces, cheese molds, and brine) and noncontact surfaces (floor, drains, and doors) and all isolates were identified by sequencing and morphology (mold). A total of 1,314 isolates were identified and found to belong to 55 bacterial genera, 1 species of yeast, and 6 species of mold. Lactococcus spp. (all of which were Lactococcus lactis), Staphylococcus spp., Microbacterium spp., and Psychrobacter sp. were isolated from all 5 sites and Rhodococcus spp. and Chryseobacterium spp. from 4 sites. Thirty-two genera were only found in 1 out of 5 facilities each. Great variations were observed in the microbial background flora both between the 5 producers, and also within the various production sites. The greatest diversity of bacteria was found in drains and on rubber seals of doors. The flora on cheese storage shelves and in salt brines was less varied. A total of 62 bacterial isolates and 1 yeast isolate were tested for antilisterial activity in an overlay assay and a spot-on-lawn assay, but none showed significant inhibitory effects. Listeria monocytogenes was also co-cultured on ceramic tiles with bacteria dominating in the cheese production plants: Lactococcus lactis, Pseudomonas putida, Staphylococcus equorum, Rhodococcus spp., or Psychrobacter spp. None of the tested isolates altered the survival of L. monocytogenes on ceramic tiles. The conclusion of the study was that no common background flora exists in cheese production environments. None of the tested isolates inhibited the growth of L. monocytogenes. Hence, this study does not support the hypothesis that the natural background flora in cheese production environments inhibits the growth or survival of L. monocytogenes.
Microbes play an important role in the degradation of fish products, thus better knowledge of the microbiological conditions throughout the fish production chain may help to optimise product quality and resource utilisation. This paper presents the results of a ten-year spot sampling programme (2005-2014) of the commercially most important pelagic fish species harvested in Norway. Fish-, surface-, and storage water samples were collected from fishing vessels and processing factories. Totally 1,181 samples were assessed with respect to microbiological quality, hygiene and food safety. We introduce a quality and safety assessment scheme for fresh pelagic fish recommending limits for heterotrophic plate counts (HPC), thermos tolerant coliforms, enterococci and Listeria monocytogenes. According to the scheme, in 25 of 41 samplings, sub-optimal conditions were found with respect to quality, whereas in 21 and 9 samplings, samples were not in compliance concerning hygiene and food safety, respectively. The present study has revealed that the quality of pelagic fish can be optimised by improving the hygiene conditions at some critical points at an early phase of the production chain. Thus, the proposed assessment scheme may provide a useful tool for the industry to optimise quality and maintain consumer safety of pelagic fishery products.
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.
The purpose of this study was to use automated ribotyping procedure to track Listeria monocytogenes transmission in the cold smoked fish production chain and to characterize L. monocytogenes subtypes associated with the salmon processing industry. A total of 104 isolates, which had previously been obtained from a raw fish slaughter and processing plant (plant B) and an adjacent, downstream, salmon smoking operation (plant A), were characterized. These isolates had been obtained through a longitudinal study on Listeria presence, which covered a 31-week period, in both plants. Isolates had been obtained from samples taken from different machinery used throughout the production process. In addition, six isolates obtained from products produced in plant A two years after the initial study were included, so that a total of 110 isolates were characterized. Automated ribotyping was performed using both the restriction enzymes EcoRI and PvuII to increase the discriminatory power. The 110 L. monocytogenes isolates could be divided into 11 EcoRI ribotypes; PvuII ribotype data yielded multiple subtypes within 7 EcoRI ribotypes for a total of 21 subtypes based on both EcoRI and PvuII ribotyping. A total of three EcoRI ribotypes (DUP-1023C, DUP-1045B, and DUP-1053E) were isolated at multiple sampling times from both plants. In addition, one subtype (DUP-1053B) was isolated at multiple sampling times in only plant A, the salmon smoking operation. These data not only support that L. monocytogenes can persist throughout the salmon production system, but also showed that L. monocytogenes may be transmitted between slaughter and smoking operations or may be unique to smoking operations. While the majority of subtypes isolated have been rarely or never linked to human listeriosis cases, some subtypes have previously caused human listeriosis outbreaks and cases. Molecular subtyping thus is critical to identify L. monocytogenes transmission and niches in order to allow design and implementation of control strategies at the appropriate stage of production and in order to reduce the prevalence of L. monocytogenes linked to human disease.
The aim of this study was to survey the presence of Staphylococcus aureus and Listeria monocytogenes during the cheese making process in small-scale raw milk cheese production in Norway. The prevalence of S. aureus in bovine and caprine raw milk samples was 47.3% and 98.8%, respectively. An increase in contamination during the first 2-3 h resulted in a 73.6% prevalence of contamination in the bovine curd, and 23 out of 38 S. aureus-negative bovine milk samples gave rise to S. aureus-positive curds. The highest contamination levels of S. aureus were reached in both caprine and bovine cheese after 5-6 h (after the first pressing). There was no contamination of L. monocytogenes in caprine cheeses and only one (1.4%) contaminated bovine cheese. This work has increased our knowledge about S. aureus and L. monocytogenes contamination during the process of raw milk cheese production and gives an account of the hygiene status during the manufacture of Norwegian raw milk cheeses.