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Euro Surveill. 2019 May;24(21). doi: 10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2019.24.21.1800271.

Listeriosis in Spain based on hospitalisation records, 1997 to 2015: need for greater awareness.

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Network Biomedical Research on Tropical Diseases (RICET in Spanish), Madrid, Spain.
National Centre for Tropical Medicine, Health Institute Carlos III (ISCIII in Spanish), Madrid, Spain.
Network Biomedical Research Centre in Epidemiology and Public Health (CIBERESP in Spanish), Madrid, Spain.
National Centre of Epidemiology, Health Institute Carlos III (ISCIII in Spanish), Madrid, Spain.
National Referral Unit for Tropical Diseases, Infectious Diseases Department, Ramón y Cajal Hospital, Instituto Ramón y Cajal de Investigación Sanitaria, Madrid, Spain.


IntroductionListeriosis is a food-borne disease of public health importance that has recently been involved in prolonged outbreaks. Despite its relevance, listeriosis is under-reported in many European countries.AimWe aimed to describe listeriosis epidemiology in Spain from 1997-2015.MethodsWe performed a retrospective study using the Spanish hospitalisation database. We calculated the mean number of hospitalisations per year and region. Pregnancy and neonatal-related listeriosis rates were computed. Relation between death and the presence of underlying health conditions was explored.ResultsBetween 1997-2015, 5,696 listeriosis hospitalisations occurred, showing a constantly increasing trend. Higher hospitalisation rates were located in the north of the country compared to southern regions. The age group ≥ 65 years old was the most represented (50%). Pregnant women and newborns accounted for 7% and 4% of hospitalisations, respectively. An underlying immunocompromising condition was present in 56.4% of patients: cancer (22.8%), diabetes mellitus (16.6%) and chronic liver disease (13.1%). Death occurred in 17% of patients, more frequently among those ≥ 65 years old (67.5%), with sepsis (39.9%) or with meningoencephalitis (19.2%).ConclusionListeriosis is an emergent public health problem in Spain that calls for targeted action. Further prevention strategies are urgently needed, including food safety education and messaging for all at-risk groups.


Listeria; Spain; bacterial infections; clinic; epidemiology; food-borne infections; infection control; listeriosis; surveillance

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