Pregnancy-associated listeriosis in England and Wales

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Listeriosis is a rare but severe foodborne disease with low morbidity and high case-fatality rates. Pregnant women, unborn and newborn babies are among the high-risk groups for listeriosis. We examined listeriosis cases reported to the enhanced surveillance system in England and Wales from 1990 to 2010 to identify risk factors influencing outcome. Cases were defined as pregnancy-associated if Listeria monocytogenes was isolated from a pregnant woman or newborn infants aged <28 days. Of the 3088 cases reported, pregnancy-associated listeriosis accounted for 462 (15%) cases and 315 cases resulted in a live birth. Several factors were identified as affecting the severity and outcome of listeriosis in pregnancy in both mother and child including: presence or absence of maternal symptoms, gestational age at onset of symptoms, and clinical presentation in the infant (meningitis or septicaemia). Deprivation, ethnicity and molecular serotype had no effect on outcome.

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