Research – Virulence Characteristics and Distribution of the Pathogen Listeria ivanovii in the Environment and in Food

MDPI

Listeria ivanovii and L. monocytogenes, are the only pathogenic species of the genus Listeria and share many virulence factors and mechanisms of pathogenicity. L. ivanovii shows host tropism towards small ruminants and rodents and much lower virulence for humans compared to L. monocytogenes. However, severe infections caused by L. ivanovii, resulting in bacteremia, abortion and stillbirth, occasionally occurred in immunocompromised persons and in pregnant women, while in immunocompetent hosts L. ivanovii can cause gastroenteritis. In this review, the updated knowledge on virulence aspects and distribution of L. ivanovii in the environment and in food is summarized. Recent research on its virulence characters at genome level gave indications on how pathogenicity evolved in this bacterial species. As for L. monocytogenesL. ivanovii infections occurred after the ingestion of contaminated food, so an overview of reports regarding its distribution in food products was carried out to obtain indications on the categories of foods exposed to contamination by L. ivanovii. It was found that a wide variety of food products can be a source of this microorganism and that, like L. monocytogenesL. ivanovii is able to persist in the food production environment. Studies on its ability to grow in enrichment and isolation media suggested that its occurrence in nature might be underestimated. Moreover, virulence varies among strains for differences in virulence character regulation, presence/absence of genetic regions and the possible instability of a Listeria pathogenicity genomic island, LIPI-2, which is unique to L. ivanovii. We can conclude that L. ivanovii, as a possible pathogen for animals and humans, requires more focused investigations regarding its occurrence in the environment and in food and on intra-species variability of pathogenic potential. View Full-Text

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