Table of Contents
ISRN Obstetrics and Gynecology
Volume 2013, Article ID 851712, 6 pages
Review Article

Listeriosis during Pregnancy: A Public Health Concern

1Centro de Biotecnologia e Química Fina (CBQF) Laboratório Associado, Escola Superior de Biotecnologia, Universidade Católica Portuguesa/Porto, Rua Dr. António Bernardino Almeida, 4200-072 Porto, Portugal
2Departamento de Medicina Veterinária (EUVG), Escola Universitária Vasco da Gama, Coimbra, Portugal
3Faculdade de Ciências Humanas e Sociais—Universidade Fernando Pessoa, Porto, Portugal

Received 2 July 2013; Accepted 29 August 2013

Academic Editors: A. Canellada, A. Malek, and C. M. Peterson

Copyright © 2013 Teresa Mateus et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


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.