Listeria monocytogenes bacteria are
commonly found in soil; dust; water; sewage; unpasteurized cheeses such as
brie, mozzarella, and blue cheese; and uncooked vegetables. These bacteria can
enter the body through contaminated food or water. Foods contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes can cause outbreaks of meningitis.
Meningitis caused by Listeria monocytogenes bacteria occurs most often in newborns, older adults, and
people with long-term illnesses or impaired immune systems. About 10% of cases of
bacterial meningitis each year in the United States are caused by Listeria monocytogenes.footnote 1 It can
be a serious illness, causing death in some cases.
Roos KL, Tyler KL (2015). Meningitis, encephalitis, brain abscess, and empyema. In DL Kasper et al., eds., Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th ed., vol. 2, pp. 883-906. New York: McGraw-Hill Education.
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD – Internal Medicine Adam Husney, MD – Family Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerW. David Colby IV, MSc, MD, FRCPC – Infectious Disease