Invasive Listeriosis Among Young Infants in the UK and Ireland

Pavankumar Kamat

May 18, 2021

A national surveillance study published in  Archives of Disease in Childhood  indicates that the occurrence of invasive listeriosis among young infants in the UK and Ireland is rare and mostly confined to the neonatal period.

Researchers conducted a 2-year (September 2017 to August 2019) active surveillance for cases of invasive Listeria monocytogenes in infants who were <90 days old. Paediatricians and neonatologists in the UK and Ireland completed a voluntary survey sent through the British Paediatric Surveillance Unit. Additionally, the data were cross-referenced with that from other public health bodies in England, Scotland and Ireland.

During the surveillance period, a total of 27 cases of listeria infection meeting the case definition were identified, which translated to an incidence of 1.8 per 100,000 live births. Twenty-six of the 27 cases were identified in the first 24 hours after birth. Fourteen infants presented with confirmed sepsis, eight had probable sepsis and seven had confirmed meningitis. Two (7%) of the infants died. Among 21 infants with outcome information available at discharge, all except one had no evidence of hearing, visual, neurological or other impairment at discharge.

Seventy-four percent of the infants were born prematurely 67 per cent were born to mothers from an ethnic minority background. Most infants (26/27) received an empirical antibiotic treatment comprising a penicillin and aminoglycoside combination.

"The addition of a penicillin for empiric treatment of sepsis and meningitis in young infants is no longer required beyond the neonatal period," the authors concluded.

Arch Dis Child. Published online May 13, 2021. Abstract


Vergnano S, Godbole G, Simbo A, Smith-Palmer A, Cormican M, Mark A, Heath PT. Listeria infection in young infants: results from a national surveillance study in the UK and Ireland. Arch Dis Child. 2021 May 13 [Epub ahead of print]. doi: 10.1136/archdischild-2021-321602. PMID: 33985959

This article originally appeared on Univadis, part of the Medscape Professional Network.


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