Listeria was first described in 1926 by Murray, Webb, and Swann, who discovered it while investigating an epidemic infection among laboratory rabbits and guinea pigs. The role of Listeria monocytogenes as a foodborne pathogen was definitively recognized during the 1980s. This recognition was the consequence of a number of epidemic human outbreaks due to the consumption of contaminated foods, in Canada, in the USA and in Europe. Listeriosis is especially severe in immunocompromised individuals such as pregnant women. The disease has a low incidence of infection, although this is undeniably increasing, with a high fatality rate amongst those infected. In pregnant women listeriosis may cause abortion, fetal death, or neonatal morbidity in the form of septicemia and meningitis. Improved education concerning the disease, its transmission, and prevention measures for immunocompromised individuals and pregnant women has been identified as a pressing need.
Mateus, T., Silva, J., Maia, R. L., & Teixeira, P. (2013). Listeriosis during Pregnancy: A Public Health Concern. ISRN Obstetrics and Gynecology, 2013, 1–6. https://doi.org/10.1155/2013/851712