Clinical information was collected on 722 cases of Listeria monocytogenes infections in humans occurring in Britain between 1967 and 1985. This series comprised 34% (248 cases) associated with pregnancy and 66% (474 cases) in non-pregnant adults and juveniles. The cases not associated with pregnancy comprised: 76% in patients with severe underlying illness (of which 34% had central nervous system infections, and 42 % bacteraemia without involvement of the central nervous system); 21% in previously healthy individuals (of whom 18% had meningitis); and 3% in patients without bacteraemia or involvement of the central nervous system. Cases occurred most often in male patients over 40 years of age. The overall mortality was 44%. Overall, the pattern of infection has altered to a disease of higher incidence, affecting most often susceptible non-pregnant individuals and the unborn. An annual increase in incidence of listeriosis occurred in the autumn in all categories of patients.