A gram-positive bacterial infection that affects neonates, pregnant women, adults over 45 to 50 years of age, and immunocompromised people.
Mainly a food-borne disease. Prevention consists of hand hygiene, cooking food well, and avoiding unwashed and leftover food.
Bacteremia, sepsis, meningitis, encephalitis, brain abscess, endocarditis, and gastroenteritis are the most common clinical manifestations.
Cultures from clinically sterile sites and serologic tests are the keys for laboratory diagnosis.
Ampicillin is the preferred drug for initial treatment for systemic (nongastroenteritis) manifestations. Gastroenteritis alone is usually self-limiting.
Electron micrograph of a Listeria bacterium in tissue
Image provided by the CDC Public Health Image Library
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