Journal of microbiology (Seoul, Korea)

Pregnancy - associated human listeriosis: Virulence and genotypic analysis of Listeria monocytogenes from clinical samples.

PMID 26231373


Listeria monocytogenes, a life-threatening pathogen, poses severe risk during pregnancy, may cause abortion, fetal death or neonatal morbidity in terms of septicemia and meningitis. The present study aimed at characterizing L. monocytogenes isolated from pregnant women based on serotyping, antibiotic susceptibility, virulence genes, in vivo pathogenicity test and ERIC- and REP-PCR fingerprint analyses. The results revealed that out of 3700 human clinical samples, a total of 30 (0.81%) isolates [12 (0.80%) from placental bit (1500), 18 (0.81%) from vaginal swab (2200)] were positive for L. monocytogenes. All the isolates belonged to serogroup 4b, and were + ve for virulence genes tested i.e. inlA, inlC, inlJ, plcA, prfA, actA, hlyA, and iap. Based on the mice inoculation tests, 20 isolates showed 100% and 4 isolates 60% relative virulence while 6 isolates were non-pathogenic. Moreover, 2 and 10 isolates were resistant to ciprofloxacin and cefoxitin, respectively, while the rest susceptible to other antibiotics used in this study. ERIC- and REP-PCR collectively depicted that the isolates from placental bit and vaginal swab had distinct PCR fingerprints except a few isolates with identical patterns. This study demonstrates prevalence of pathogenic strains mostly resistant to cefoxitin and/or ciprofloxacin. The results indicate the importance of isolating and characterizing the pathogen from human clinical samples as the pre-requisite for accurate epidemiological investigations.