B. Swaminathan

Listeriosis is a foodborne disease of major public health concern because of the severity of the disease (meningitis, septicemia, and abortions) and a 20-30% mortality rate. Despite the new knowledge gained during the past 20 years through public health surveillance, outbreak investigations, basic studies of pathogenesis, and applied research on the persistence and survival of Listeria monocytogenes in foods, there are still many unanswered questions: (1) are all Listeria monocytogenes strains equally pathogenic for humans? (2) do the infectious doses vary significantly between strains? (3) why are some L. monocytogenes strains capable of persisting in food processing establishments for years, and what is the genetic basis for their persistence? Opportunities are available to study these and other questions that may directly impact public health action to reduce the disease burden of human listeriosis.


Swaminathan, B. 2001. Listeria monocytogenes, p. 383-410. In M. P. Doyle, L. R. Beuchat, and T. J. Montville (ed.), Food Microbiology - Fundamentals and Frontiers, 2nd ed. ASM Press