February 1978

Listeria monocytogenes and Encephalitis

Arch Intern Med. 1978;138(2):198-199. doi:10.1001/archinte.1978.03630260012007

Listeria monocytogenes is a motile nonencapsulated, nonsporulating aerobic or microaerophilic Grampositive bacterium. Several serotypes can be distinguished by somatic and flagellar antigens.1Listeria monocytogenes is distributed worldwide. It is found in soil and on decaying vegetation.2 The characteristics of a psychrophilic organism include the ability to grow at low temperatures (3 to 4 C), tolerance of high concentrations of sodium chloride and an alkaline pH, resistance to desiccation, and optimal flagellation and motility at 25 C or lower.3

Listeria monocytogenes has not adapted itself to a specific host. The organism has been observed in many animal species in addition to man and causes a similar spectrum of diseases in both animal and man.4 The potential pathogenicity for both animal and man has left the impression that exposure to infected animals may be an important source of human infections. Although veterinarians, farmers, and laboratory workers are known

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