Outbreaks of food-borne listeriosis have often involved strains of serotype 4b. Examination of multiple isolates from three different outbreaks revealed that ca. 11 to 29% of each epidemic population consisted of strains which were negative with the serotype-specific monoclonal antibody c74.22, lacked galactose from the teichoic acid of the cell wall, and were resistant to the serotype 4b-specific phage 2671.
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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.
A total of 245 strains of Listeria monocytogenes were investigated. These strains were isolated from human and animal cases of listeriosis as well as from different kinds of raw and processed foods. Thirty-three electrophoretic types (ETs) were identified among the 245 strains. The strains investigated included all human clinical strains isolated in Denmark during 1989 and 1990. Seventy-three percent of the strains isolated in this period were assigned to one of only two ETs (ET 1 and ET 4). ET 1, which was found to be the most frequently occurring ET among strains isolated from human clinical cases, was also found to occur rather frequently in animal clinical cases. ET 1 was, however, found only sporadically among strains isolated from foods and food factories. The data indicate that there might be something distinctive about the physiology or ecology of the ET 1 clone which makes it more likely to bring about disease in human beings either because of high pathogenicity or because of a special ability to multiply to infectious doses in processed foods. Another type, designated ET 4, was found to be the next most frequently occurring ET, after ET 1, among human clinical isolates. This could be explained by the fact that ET 4 was found to be the most frequently occurring ET within food isolates.
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Listeria monocytogenes, a psychrotrophic organism capable of growing at refrigeration temperatures, is of major concern in extended shelf life, refrigerated foods. Considering that as much as 80-90% of human listeriosis cases are linked to the ingestion of contaminated food, human cases are predominantly seen in high-risk individuals, including organ-transplant recipients, patients with AIDS and HIV-infected individuals, pregnant women, cancer patients, and the elderly. In 2001, the Canadian Listeriosis Reference Service (LRS) was created by the Bureau of Microbial Hazards (Health Canada) and the National Microbiology Laboratory (now part of the Public Health Agency of Canada). Major goals of the LRS include investigation of listeriosis cases and maintenance of a national collection of isolates. The LRS intends to create a comprehensive molecular epidemiological database of all isolates in Canada for use as a resource for outbreak investigations, research and other microbiological investigations. The PFGE profiles are being established and stored for clinical, food, environmental, and possibly animal strains of L. monocytogenes. The LRS pursues research activities for investigation and implementation of other molecular methods for characterizing L. monocytogenes isolates. Ribotyping, Multi-locus Sequence Typing (MLST), Variable Number of Tandem Repeats (VNTR), Multi-locus virulence sequence typing (MLVA), microarray- based technologies and sequence-based typing schemes, are being investigated on selected diversity sets. The LRS has also used PFGE typing for outbreak investigations. The molecular epidemiological data, timely coordination and exchange of information should help to reduce the incidence of listeriosis in Canada. In Canada, listeriosis is not a national notifiable disease, except for the province of Quebec, where it has been since 1999. The LRS, Canadian Public Health Laboratory Network, and federal epidemiologists are currently working on making human listeriosis notifiable throughout Canada.
A total of 84 strains of Listeria monocytogenes were analysed by multilocus enzyme electrophoresis at twelve enzyme loci. Eight enzyme loci were polymorphic with between 2 and 4 alleles per locus. Fourteen electrophoretic types (ETs) were identified. Among 62 human clinical isolates from Denmark, 8 different ETs were defined. Two ETs, designated ET 1 and ET 6, accounted for 77% of the human clinical isolates investigated. These ETs are identical with those responsible for several epidemics in Switzerland and in the United States. Comparison of 58 isolates of L. monocytogenes, typed by MEE, in relation to phage typing showed that phage typing was more discriminatory than MEE. The ability of MEE to distinguish between phage types of Epi-type and other phage types, however, was almost optimal. MEE typed 23 of 24 strains of Epi-type as belonging to ET 1. In contrast ET 1 was not found in 26 strains with phage types other than the Epi-type.
On the basis of specially developed scheme for the isolation of Listeria strains comprising 2 enrichment stages and the use of growth inhibitors, 128 L. monocytogenes cultures were isolated from clinical material, foodstuffs and sewage water. Highly virulent L.monocytogenes strains isolated from clinical material belonged to serovar 4b (54%) and 1/2a (38%), while those isolated from foodstuffs and sewage water belonged to 4b (74%). The restriction analysis of the chromosomal DNA of the isolated cultures with the use of restrictase EcoR1 on the basis of pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) made it possible to distinguish Listeria strains in accordance with 5 types of restrictograms. The restrictograms of highly virulent L. monocytogenes strains, serovar 4b, belonged to types 1 and 2, while those of L. monocytogenes strains, serovar 1/2a, belonged to types 2 and 3. The comparative use of different methods for typing L. monocytogenes (sero-, phago-, bio- and resistotyping, the analysis of plasmid composition and restriction analysis) revealed that the combination of serotyping and restriction analysis on the basis of PFGE proved to be most promising for the characterization of the isolated L. monocytogenes strains and the assessment of their epidemic importance.
Since 1986, 68% of the Listeria monocytogenes isolates from human cases of invasive listeriosis in Sweden are available for retrospective studies. The aim of the present study was to characterize 601 human invasive isolates of L. monocytogenes in Sweden from 1986 to 2007 by using serotyping and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. Since 1996, serovar 4b was permanently reduced to the second or third most common serovar in human cases in Sweden. During the latter period, 2000-2007, only 13% belonged to serovar 4b and 71% to 1/2a. The dendrogram, based on pulsovars, reveals two clusters with different serovars. Cluster 1 exhibits serovars 4b and 1/2b, whereas cluster 2 consists of serovar 1/2a. Serovar 1/2a seems to be more heterogeneous than serovar 4b.
Sixty-two strains of Listeria monocytogenes isolated in Canada and Switzerland were investigated. Comparison based on molecular genotypes confirmed that strains in these two countries are genetically diverse. Interestingly strains from both countries displayed similar range of cold growth phenotypic profiles. Based on cold growth lag phase duration periods displayed in BHI at 4??C, the strains were similarly divided into groups of fast, intermediate and slow cold adaptors. Overall Swiss strains had faster exponential cold growth rates compared to Canadian strains. However gene expression analysis revealed no significant differences between fast and slow cold adapting strains in the ability to induce nine cold adaptation genes (lmo0501, cspA, cspD, gbuA, lmo0688, pgpH, sigB, sigH and sigL) in response to cold stress exposure. Neither was the presence of Stress survival islet 1 (SSI-1) analysed by PCR associated with enhanced cold adaptation. Phylogeny based on the sigL gene subdivided strains from these two countries into two major and one minor cluster. Fast cold adaptors were more frequently in one of the major clusters (cluster A), whereas slow cold adaptors were mainly in the other (cluster B). Genetic differences between these two major clusters are associated with various amino acid substitutions in the predicted SigL proteins. Compared to the EGDe type strain and most slow cold adaptors, most fast cold adaptors exhibited five identical amino acid substitutions (M90L, S203A/S203T, S304N, S315N, and I383T) in their SigL proteins. We hypothesize that these amino acid changes might be associated with SigL protein structural and functional changes that may promote differences in cold growth behaviour between L.?monocytogenes strains.
Listeria monocytogenes was isolated from critical control points in a Danish turkey processing plant, from turkey products and from cases of human listeriosis. During processing in the plant the prevalence of L. monocytogenes ranged from 25.9 to 41.4%. Cleaning and disinfection decreased the prevalence to 6.4%. Isolates of L. monocytogenes were characterized by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) using restriction endonuclease ApaI. Identical DNA types were obtained from turkey products and the processing line even after cleaning and disinfection. Two identical DNA types were demonstrated among isolates from turkey products and human cases of listeriosis. The prevalence of L. monocytogenes in turkey products ranged from 7.3 to 17.4% for ready-to-eat products and raw products, respectively. Since none of the 27 flocks examined before slaughter sampled positive for L. monocytogenes and the prevalence increased during processing, the potential risk from turkey meat was apparently due to factory hygiene rather than intrinsic contamination of the turkeys.
Forty Listeria monocytogenes isolates obtained in European and Far East regions of Russia were differentiated on the basis of polymorphism of 5 markergenes. Total length of concatemers obtained after sequencing of internal fragments of genes inlA, inlB, inlC, inlE and prs was 3029 b.p. Comparative analysis of concatemers' sequences revealed 237 variable nucleotides. Totally, 25 sequence types were revealed, and isolates from European and Far East regions belonged to different types. On the dendrogram isolates split on 2 clusters, which correspond to early described phylogenetic lines of L. monocytogenes specie. Isolates obtained in European and Far East regions formed independent subclusters within main clusters. Fifteen clinical isolates of L. monocytogenes belonged to 7 different types. Analysis of epidemiologic data on time and place of isolates obtaining suggested that isolates of the same sequence type are epidemiologically related and might represent one strain; index of discrimination for proposed typing method was calculated as 0.982.