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Indiana State Department of Health

Epidemiology Resource Center Home > Surveillance and Investigation > Diseases and Conditions Resource Page > Listeriosis Listeriosis

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Listeriosis Quick Fact

Recent recalls have been issued for products sold in Indiana due to their potential for contamination with Listeria monocytogenes. Products include Blue Bell ice cream products and organic spinach. For a list of all recalled products, please visit: http://www.in.gov/isdh/20643.htm.

The risk of invasive listeriosis after exposure to L. monocytogenes is very low; although exposure is common, disease is rare. It was the consensus of an expert panel that no testing or treatment is indicated for an asymptomatic person with elevated risk of invasive listeriosis who ate a product recalled because of L. monocytogenes contamination. Patient management decisions for asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic persons are appropriately made on a case-by-case basis, informed by clinical judgment and the likelihood of exposure of the patient.

As a result of the 2011 outbreak of listeriosis linked to cantaloupe, CDC created the guidance document, "Suggested framework for medical management of persons at elevated risk for invasive listeriosis who are exposed to Listeria monocytogenes" that can be found at http://bit.ly/1lsti2n. Although the guidance document suggests stool culture as an option, it is important to note that stool testing for Listeria has not been evaluated as a screening tool for listeriosis and, in general, is not recommended for the diagnosis of listeriosis. Ingestion of Listeria occurs frequently because the bacterium is commonly present in the environment. Therefore, intermittent fecal carriage and shedding of Listeria is frequent (about 5% in unselected populations, but substantial variation exists) and rarely indicative of infection. Stool culture for Listeria may also have low sensitivity and, is not available in the vast majority of clinical laboratories.

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Page last updated: July 15, 2015

Page last reviewed: July 15, 2015