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Scand J Infect Dis. 2009;41(1):21-5. doi: 10.1080/00365540802468094.

Listeria monocytogenes: maternal-foetal infections in Denmark 1994-2005.

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Department of Bacteriology, Mycology, and Parasitology, Statens Serum Institut, Copenhagen, Denmark.


Maternal-foetal infection by Listeria monocytogenes is a rare complication in pregnancy. In the period 1994-2005, 37 culture-confirmed cases of maternal-foetal Listeria monocytogenes infections were reported in Denmark. We examined 36 patients' files in order to evaluate risk factors, clinical and laboratory findings, response to therapy, and outcome for maternal-foetal listeriosis. Patient data and bacteriological findings were divided into 2 groups for comparison: 1 group with children born alive (n=24) and another group with abortion or stillbirth (n=12). 23 of the 36 children survived the acute infection, as did all the mothers. The mothers were generally only mildly affected by the infection. In contrast, among the children born alive, 15 were diagnosed with bacteraemia/septicaemia, 3 children with pneumonia, 3 with neonatal meningitis, and 3 were unaffected. Despite the high frequency of illness only 1 of the live-born children died from the infection and none of the surviving children showed signs of permanent damage at the time they were discharged from hospital. Listeriosis during pregnancy is a serious threat to the unborn child. One-third of culture-confirmed cases of maternal-foetal infections resulted in abortion or stillbirth; however, the prognosis for live-born children is good, even in severely ill newborns.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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