Six cases of listeriosis were reported during 2003. All six case-patients were hospitalized, and one died 26 days after specimen collection. None of the cases was associated with a recognized outbreak. The ages of five case patients ranged from 58 to 69 years, and the remaining case was 23 years of age. Five cases had underlying medical conditions, including one undergoing radiation therapy for cancer, two taking corticosteroids (one for multiple sclerosis), one with diabetes, and one with asthma. The 23-year-old case-patient was 35 weeks pregnant and had a C-section due to decreased fetal movement; the infant was hospitalized for 10 days after birth and was discharged after recovery.
The six cases reported in 2003 continues a recent trend of decreased listeriosis reports in Minnesota. As recently as 1999, 18 cases were reported, decreasing to four cases in 2002. The median number of cases reported annually from 1996 to 2002 was 10 (range, 4 to 18 cases).
Elderly persons, pregnant women, neonates, and immunocompromised individuals are at highest risk for acquiring listeriosis. Listeriosis generally manifests as meningoencephalitis and/or septicemia in neonates and adults. Pregnant women may experience a mild febrile illness, abortion, premature delivery, or stillbirth. In healthy adults and children, symptoms usually are mild or absent. Listeria monocytogenes can multiply in refrigerated foods. Persons at highest risk should: 1) avoid soft cheeses (e.g., feta, Brie, Camembert, blue-veined, and Mexican-style cheeses) and unpasteurized milk; 2) thoroughly heat/reheat deli meats, hot dogs, other meats, and leftovers; and 3) wash raw vegetables.
Note: For up to date information on listeriosis see Listeriosis (Listeria monocytogenes)
Go to full issue: DCN, August 2004: Volume 32, Number 4