Listeria infection in young infants: Results from a national surveillance study in the UK and Ireland

Stefania Vergnano*, Gauri Godbole, Ameze Simbo, Alison Smith-Palmer, Martin Cormican, Anthony Mark, Paul T. Heath

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Objectives: To describe the epidemiology, age at infection, clinical characteristics and outcome of listeria infection in young infants to inform management and empiric antibiotic choice in young infants.

Design: Prospective 2-year surveillance of Listeria monocytogenes infection in young infants detected through the British Paediatric Surveillance Unit 'orange card' system and triangulated with the public health laboratories.

Setting: National population study (England, Wales, Scotland and the Ireland).

Patients: All infants under 90 days with proven or probable invasive listeriosis.

Main outcome measures: Incidence, mortality, age of infection, clinical characteristics and outcome.

Results: During a 2-year period (2017-2019), 27 cases of listeriosis in infants.

Conclusions: Invasive listeriosis in young infants in the UK and Ireland is rare and presents early in the neonatal period. National guidelines that recommend the use of amoxicillin as part of empiric regimes for sepsis and meningitis in infants over 1 month of age should be modified.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1207-1210
Number of pages4
JournalArchives of Disease in Childhood
Issue number12
Early online date13 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

Open Access: No Open Access licence.

Publisher Copyright: © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2021. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.

Citation: Vergnano S, Godbole G, Simbo A, et al. Listeria infection in young infants: results from a national surveillance study in the UK and Ireland. Archives of Disease in Childhood 2021;106:1207-1210.



  • epidemiology
  • microbiology
  • neonatology


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