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Listeriosis Caused by Persistence of Listeria monocytogenes Serotype 4b Sequence Type 6 in Cheese Production Environment


Nüesch-Inderbinen, Magdalena; Bloemberg, Guido V; Müller, Andrea; Stevens, Marc J A; Cernela, Nicole; Kollöffel, Beat; Stephan, Roger (2021). Listeriosis Caused by Persistence of Listeria monocytogenes Serotype 4b Sequence Type 6 in Cheese Production Environment. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 27(1):284-288.

Abstract

A nationwide outbreak of human listeriosis in Switzerland was traced to persisting environmental contamination of a cheese dairy with Listeria monocytogenes serotype 4b, sequence type 6, cluster type 7488. Whole-genome sequencing was used to match clinical isolates to a cheese sample and to samples from numerous sites within the production environment.
Listeriosis is a potentially lethal infection, and the elderly population, pregnant women, and immunocompromised persons at particular risk (1). Foods, in particular ready-to-eat foodstuffs, including meat, fish, dairy products, fruits, and vegetables, represent the major vehicle for sporadic cases and outbreaks of listeriosis (2). Listeria monocytogenes serotype 4b sequence type 6 (ST6) has emerged since 1990 as a hypervirulent clone that is associated with particularly worse outcome for case-patients who have Listeria meningitis and therefore poses a particular threat to consumer health (3,4).

L. monocytogenes ST6 is increasingly associated with outbreaks, including an outbreak linked to frozen vegetables in 5 countries in Europe during 2015–2018 (5), an outbreak associated with contaminated meat pâté in Switzerland during 2016 (6), and the largest listeriosis outbreak globally, which occurred in South Africa during 2017–2018 (7,8). More recently, the largest outbreak of listeriosis in Europe in the past 25 years was reported in Germany and was traced back to blood sausages contaminated with L. monocytogenes ST6 belonging to a particular clone referred to as Epsilon1a (9).

Human listeriosis is a reportable disease in Switzerland. All cases of culture- or PCR-confirmed human listeriosis are reported to the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (SFOPH). Diagnostic laboratories and regional (cantonal) laboratories forward isolates to the Swiss National Reference Centre for Enteropathogenic Bacteria and Listeria for strain characterization, ensuring early recognition of Listeria clusters among food isolates or human cases. We report an outbreak of listeriosis associated with cheese contaminated with L. monocytogenes 4b ST6 in Switzerland.

Abstract

A nationwide outbreak of human listeriosis in Switzerland was traced to persisting environmental contamination of a cheese dairy with Listeria monocytogenes serotype 4b, sequence type 6, cluster type 7488. Whole-genome sequencing was used to match clinical isolates to a cheese sample and to samples from numerous sites within the production environment.
Listeriosis is a potentially lethal infection, and the elderly population, pregnant women, and immunocompromised persons at particular risk (1). Foods, in particular ready-to-eat foodstuffs, including meat, fish, dairy products, fruits, and vegetables, represent the major vehicle for sporadic cases and outbreaks of listeriosis (2). Listeria monocytogenes serotype 4b sequence type 6 (ST6) has emerged since 1990 as a hypervirulent clone that is associated with particularly worse outcome for case-patients who have Listeria meningitis and therefore poses a particular threat to consumer health (3,4).

L. monocytogenes ST6 is increasingly associated with outbreaks, including an outbreak linked to frozen vegetables in 5 countries in Europe during 2015–2018 (5), an outbreak associated with contaminated meat pâté in Switzerland during 2016 (6), and the largest listeriosis outbreak globally, which occurred in South Africa during 2017–2018 (7,8). More recently, the largest outbreak of listeriosis in Europe in the past 25 years was reported in Germany and was traced back to blood sausages contaminated with L. monocytogenes ST6 belonging to a particular clone referred to as Epsilon1a (9).

Human listeriosis is a reportable disease in Switzerland. All cases of culture- or PCR-confirmed human listeriosis are reported to the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (SFOPH). Diagnostic laboratories and regional (cantonal) laboratories forward isolates to the Swiss National Reference Centre for Enteropathogenic Bacteria and Listeria for strain characterization, ensuring early recognition of Listeria clusters among food isolates or human cases. We report an outbreak of listeriosis associated with cheese contaminated with L. monocytogenes 4b ST6 in Switzerland.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Veterinärwissenschaftliches Institut > Institute of Food Safety and Hygiene
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Epidemiology
Health Sciences > Microbiology (medical)
Health Sciences > Infectious Diseases
Uncontrolled Keywords:Infectious Diseases, Microbiology (medical), Epidemiology
Language:English
Date:1 January 2021
Deposited On:02 Mar 2022 13:07
Last Modified:26 Jun 2024 01:54
Publisher:U.S. National Center for Infectious Diseases
ISSN:1080-6040
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.3201/eid2701.203266
  • Content: Published Version
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)