Septicemia Due to Listeria monocytogenes Infection: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Kenzie Schaefer, Erika Austhof, Kylie Boyd, Alexandra Armstrong, Sandra Hoffman, Kristen Pogreba-Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Listeriosis is a rare bacterial infection associated with foodborne illness that can result in septicemia, a serious acute outcome. Sepsis is responsible for one in three deaths during hospitalization. The objective of this study was to conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis to estimate the proportion of Listeria monocytogenes infections resulting in septicemia. PubMed, Embase, Scopus, and Web of Science were searched from January 1, 2000, to April 1, 2018, for epidemiological studies that assessed studies focusing on L. monocytogenes infections with the outcome of septicemia. Articles in English, Spanish, and Portuguese using case-control, cohort, or outbreak studies reporting measures of association between L. monocytogenes and septicemia were included. Bias and heterogeneity were assessed using univariate meta-regression for region, sample size, study design, and report method. Nineteen articles were eligible for inclusion post-screening, the majority of which were conducted in Europe (n = 15); utilized a retrospective cohort design (n = 16); and collected data via routine or laboratory surveillance methods (n = 10). Prevalence of sepsis ranged from 4.2% to 100% among study populations of 6 to 1374 individuals. Overall, the proportion of listeriosis cases that developed sepsis was 46% (95% confidence interval [CI] 31.0-61.0%); for neonatal cases, 21.3% (95% CI 11.0-31.6%); and for maternal and neonatal cases, 18.8% (95% CI 10.7-26.8%). The heterogeneity was high for overall and group meta-analyses, but it could not be explained by the subanalyses for the overall proportion, whereas for neonatal, and neonatal and maternal cases combined, China had a significantly lower proportion than Europe and the United States. Septicemia following L. monocytogenes infection is a severe acute complication with 31-61% rate found overall; however, greater delineation of demographic data is needed to determine important risk factors. Future research should aim to address the gaps in knowledge in the long-term outcomes of sepsis from L. monocytogenes infection, and whether these outcomes differ from those due to other infections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)104-114
Number of pages11
JournalFoodborne Pathogens and Disease
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2022


  • Listeria
  • post-infection sequelae
  • sepsis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Food Science
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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