Listeria monocytogenesRANK: Species
TAXONOMY: Terrabacteria group -> Firmicutes -> Bacilli -> Bacillales -> Listeriaceae -> Listeria -> Listeria monocytogenes
Listeria monocytogenes is the species of pathogenic bacteria that causes the infection listeriosis. It is a facultative anaerobic bacterium, capable of surviving in the presence or absence of oxygen. It can grow and reproduce inside the host's cells and is one of the most virulent foodborne pathogens, with 20 to 30% of clinical infections resulting in death.[ Responsible for an estimated 1,600 illnesses and 260 deaths in the United States (U.S.) annually, listeriosis is the third-leading cause of death among foodborne bacterial pathogens, with fatality rates exceeding even Salmonella and Clostridium botulinum. In the European Union listeriosis follows an upward trend that began in 2008, causing 2,161 confirmed cases and 210 reported deaths in 2014, 16% more than in 2013. Listeriosis mortality rates are also in the EU higher than for other food-borne pathogens. Identified as a constituent of the oral microbiome by Human Oral Microbiome Database. Studies suggest up to 10% of human gastrointestinal tracts may be colonized by Listeria monocytogenes.
Listeria monocytogenes is lysine decarboxylase (LDC) positive. Listeria species grow on media such as Mueller-Hinton agar. Identification is enhanced if the primary cultures are done on agar containing sheep blood, because the characteristic small zone of hemolysis can be observed around and under colonies. Isolation can be enhanced if the tissue is kept at 4 °C for some days before inoculation into bacteriologic media. The organism is a facultative anaerobe and is catalase-positive and motile. Listeria produces acid, but not gas, in a variety of carbohydrates. The motility at room temperature and hemolysin production are primary findings that help differentiate listeria from coryneform bacteria.