By Teddy Cambosa

Listeriosis outbreaks in England and Wales are lowering down in trend, but still prevalent, new research from the Gastrointestinal Infections team at Public Health England (PHE) showed.


According to the research, 156 cases of listeriosis were reported in England and Wales in 2018, on which the largest proportion of reported listeriosis was in those over the age of 80, particularly in men aged 70 and over.

Geographically speaking, incidence of listeriosis varied, with the lowest incidence in East of England (0.16 per 100,000 population) and the highest in the North East (0.64 per 100,0000 population).

Despite the low trend of the outbreak, there were still 4 listeriosis outbreaks investigated in England in 2018, including a multi-country outbreak associated with consumption of frozen sweetcorn.

The research also noted that pregnancy-associated infections accounted for almost 17% of all reported cases and, where known, a third of pregnancy-associated cases resulted in stillbirth or miscarriage. Meanwhile, death was reported for 24.6% among non-pregnancy associated cases of listeriosis.

In addition, the research also stated that July was the peak month for listeriosis reporting in 2018. Cases were infected with different strains of Listeria monocytogenes and no outbreaks influenced the peak in cases. In comparison, in 2016 and 2017 case numbers peaked in October and July respectively.

“As a predominantly foodborne infection, this severe disease is largely preventable. It remains imperative that sporadic cases of illness and clusters of disease continue to be monitored and investigated to inform the continued risk assessment of the food chain,” the researchers concluded in an online statement.

Data was sourced from the National Enhanced Surveillance System for Listeria infection in England and Wales and the Second Generation Surveillance System (SGSS).

Teddy Cambosa is a graduating BS Biology student and a former campus journalist at Batangas State University. He is also currently writing for MARKETECH APAC, a small APAC-focused marketing news site.