Listeriosis in Spain based on hospitalisation records, 1997 to 2015: need for greater awareness

June 21, 2019 at 7:49 am


Listeriosis is an infectious disease caused by bacteria of the genus Listeria spp. L. monocytogenes is the major pathogenic species in both animals and humans. L. monocytogenes is a Gram-positive, rod-shaped organism that can grow in aerobic and anaerobic conditions [1], is widely distributed in the environment and is able to contaminate a wide variety of foods or beverages (soft cheese, deli meats, unpasteurised milk, refrigerated smoked seafood, etc.) [2]. The bacteria can multiply at refrigerator temperatures [3]; therefore, contaminated products are often kept for several days or even weeks, e.g. in the household/restaurants, and may be eaten on multiple occasions, which can complicate the identification of the incriminated food source [4].

The clinical syndromes of listeriosis include: febrile gastroenteritis, sepsis, central nervous system (CNS) involvement in the form of encephalitis, meningoencephalitis and focal infections such as pneumonia myo-endocarditis and septic arthritis, etc [5]. Invasive listeriosis most commonly affects pregnant women, neonates, elderly people and people with chronic conditions or weakened immune response [6]. Listeriosis has one of the highest case fatality rates among all food-borne infections; when it affects the CNS, the mortality rate is above 50% and neurological sequelae are present in more than 60% of survivors [2]. Listeriosis is also associated with fetal and neonatal death.

Worldwide, listeriosis is an emerging infection of public health concern [7]. In Europe, human listeriosis peaked in incidence during the 1980s, showed a general decline during the 1990s and stabilised in the 2000s [8]. More recent data show an increasing trend since 2008 [9]. This increase seems to be related to the ageing of the population and the increase in life expectancy of immunocompromised patients, but also to changes in the ways food is produced, stored, distributed and consumed around the world [10]. Although listeriosis is often a sporadic disease [11], large food-borne outbreaks have occurred during the last decade in Europe and the United States (US) [12]. In South Africa, an outbreak with more than 1,024 laboratory-confirmed listeriosis cases, as at 2 May 2018, has been ongoing since the start of 2017, with a 28.6% case fatality rate [13].

In Spain, food safety criteria (FSC) for L. monocytogenes follow European Commission (EC) regulations [14,15]. Before 2015, when it was added to the list of mandatory notifiable diseases, regions could voluntarily report listeriosis to the Microbiological Information System (Sistema de Información Microbiológica, SIM) [16]. Using the centralised hospital discharge database (Conjunto Mínimo Básico de Datos, CMBD), we aimed to describe the epidemiology of listeriosis in Spain from 1997–2015.




Entry filed under: Antimicrobianos, Bacterias, Bacteriemias, Epidemiología, HIC no SIDA, Infecciones del SNC, Infecciones en embarzadas, Infecciones en seniles, Infecciones en transplantados, Infecciones y Alimentos, Metodos diagnosticos, Prevencion y Control de Infecciones, REPORTS, Sepsis, Update, Zoonosis.

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