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March 1986

Listeriosis: New Pieces to an Old Puzzle

Author Affiliations

Departments of Medicine, Microbiology, and Community Health Dalhousie University Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada B3H 4H7

Arch Intern Med. 1986;146(3):459-460. doi:10.1001/archinte.1986.00360150057005

Seven years elapsed from the time Murray et al1 identified Bacterium monocytogenes in a laboratory rabbit colony to the recognition by Gill2 that the organism now called Listeria monocytogenes produced a characteristic meningoencephalitis in sheep that he termed circling disease. Although Schultz et al,3 in 1934, described a case of meningoencephalitis in a young woman possibly due to this organism, it was not until 1951 that Reiss et al4 described granulomatosis infantiseptica, which is the most characteristic clinical manifestation of human listeriosis. Despite the obvious parallels between human and veterinary listeriosis that have arisen in descriptions of the clinical syndromes associated with L monocytogenes, the epidemiologic connection between the animal reservoir and human infection has only recently been forged.

It has become increasingly clear that the major mode of transmission of L monocytogenes, from its broad environmental niche to listeriosis in both adults and neonates, is

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