Human listeriosis, a dreaded gastrointestinal disease of the West has surfaced in the last two decades in India, and there have been a series of reports on sporadic cases. The causative organism, Listeria monocytogenes is an intracellular Gram-positive bacillus ubiquitous in soil and vegetation. It is responsible for cases and outbreaks of febrile gastrointestinal disease in otherwise healthy people and invasive listeriosis, which usually affects pregnant women, newborns & the elderly. Immunocompromised individuals and pregnant women have been identified as major risk factors for listeriosis. It is about 20 times more common in pregnant women than in the general population. It causes mild illness in mothers, but can be devastating to the fetus, in some cases leading to severe disease or fetal death. It may cause abortion, premature labour, fetal death or neonatal morbidity in the form of septicemia and meningitis. This review is an attempt to sensitize clinicians especially obstetricians to include listeriosis as a differential diagnosis in patients with high suspicion and institute early antimicrobial therapy. Also there is need to press upon proper counseling of pregnant women for preventive measures against this deadly infection.
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