Food poisoning by Listeria monocytogenes (Listeriosis)

Listeriosis is a serious and sometimes fatal infection caused by a bacterium called Listeria monocytogenes. This bacterium can contaminate various foods, especially ready-to-eat products that are stored under refrigeration. Listeriosis can affect anyone, but some groups are more vulnerable than others, such as pregnant women, newborns, elderly people, and people with weakened immune systems. Listeriosis can cause different types of illnesses, ranging from mild gastroenteritis to severe invasive infections that can affect the brain, blood, or placenta. Listeriosis is a global public health concern because of its high mortality rate and its potential to cause outbreaks. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), listeriosis affects about 0.1 to 10 people per million population per year worldwide. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that about 1,600 people get listeriosis each year in the United States, and about 260 die. Listeriosis can be prevented by following good food safety practices, such as avoiding high-risk foods, cooking food thoroughly, washing fruits and vegetables, and keeping food at safe temperatures. Listeriosis can be treated with antibiotics, but early diagnosis and prompt treatment are essential to reduce the risk of complications and death. In this article, we will discuss the source of contamination, the antigenic structure and virulence factors, the epidemiology, the clinical signs and symptoms, the mechanism of pathogenesis, the laboratory diagnosis, the treatment, and the prevention and control of listeriosis.