What is the role of Listeria monocytogenes (L monocytogenes) in the development of meningitis?

Updated: Jul 16, 2019
  • Author: Rodrigo Hasbun, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Listeria monocytogenes is a small gram-positive bacillus that causes 3% of bacterial meningitis cases and is associated with one of the highest mortalities (20%). [5] The organism is widespread in nature and has been isolated in the stool of 5% of healthy adults. Most human cases appear to be food-borne.

L monocytogenes is a common food contaminant, with a recovery rate of up to 70% from raw meat, vegetables, and meats. Outbreaks have been associated with consumption of contaminated coleslaw, milk, cheese, and alfalfa tablets.

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